An IRTS Official turns Lyricist for Rajkummar Rao’s film ‘Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana’

IRTS officer pens ‘break-up song’ for UP-based film. He laughs saying ‘Afsar ka bhi dil hota hai’
Gaurav Krishna Bansal IRTS

LUCKNOW: Rajkummar Rao’s upcoming film’s tack has been written by an Indian Railway Traffic Services officer.

Rajkummar Rao and Kriti Kharbanda who will share screen space for the first time in Vinod Bachchan’s Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana, recently wrapped up the Lucknow schedule recently.

While shooting the film in the city at a real location, Gaurav Krishna Bansal, an IRTS (Indian Railway Traffic Service) Officer had approached producer Vinod Bachchan to show him few poems that he had written hoping to get it featured in the movie.

Producer Vinod Bachchan says, “While shooting the film at a real location in Lucknow, Gaurav Bansal had approached me with few poems that he had penned which I found it very interesting. I made him meet Director Ratna who was impressed with one song. Since we wanted to incorporate that in the movie, we asked him to rework it in the format of a Bollywood song and it has come out nicely.”

Directed by Ratna Sinha, Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana has been penned by Kamal Pande. The movie went on floors last month in Allahabad. Former Director of the North Central Zone Cultural Centre (NCZCC), a central government initiative, Bansal has recently been appointed the Chief Public Relations Officer of the North-Central Railway. He is a 2000 batch IRTS officer from Indian Railways.

Gaurav Krishna Bansal insists that it’s time for Amitabh Bhattacharya’s Breakup Song from ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ to move over. He says it’s so that the quirky heartbreak track, ‘Thukra Ke Dil Mera Intekaam Dekhegi’, which he’s penned for Ratna Sinha’s UP-based romcom ‘Shaadi Main Zaroor Aana’, can set feet tapping and fingers snapping.

“The hero, who’s been dumped because he has failed to make it big, is back with a vengeance, telling his dushman-lover that she will now yearn for his dosti,” says Bansal. The bureaucrat, who got a chance to meet the film’s leads, Rajkummar Rao and Kriti Kharbanda, is delighted that Ratna and producer Vinod Bachchan, after going through his poems, thought this one would make for a film song. “During my earlier posting as director of the NCZCC, Allahabad, I happened to meet Ratna and Vinod, since a large portion of the film was shot in the NCZCC premises. While chatting about the film during the lunch break, where I was invited, I asked if I could write lyrics for the film. They knew about my love for writing, as I have participated in several kavi sammellans and have written books on poetry, so they agreed. They explained to me the situation for which I had to write. When I narrated the first draft of the lyrics to Ratnaji, she asked me to re-do some parts of it. The revised lyrics were greatly appreciated, and they decided to incorporate them as a song in the film,” he recounts. The film’s leads both play characters from UP – the hero from Allahabad, and the heroine from Kanpur. The film has been set and shot in the state, including in Lucknow and Allahabad.

Debutant lyricist Bansal is determined to prove that officers are not stone-hearted, but instead are brimming with literary talent that usually doesn’t find an audience. “Afsar ka bhi dil hota hai!” he asserts, hoping that other government officials find a complementary career in mainstream cinema too. He says that he started writing when he was quite young, and being a bureaucrat never hindered his writing. “My passion gave me the opportunity to participate in several kavi sammellans with well-known poets like Surendra Sharma, Ashok Chakradhar and Gopal Das Neeraj. Later, I also started writing lyrics for songs. It was my wife who really wanted these songs to become part of a Bollywood project. Due to my work, it was difficult for me to visit Mumbai to fulfill this aspiration. So when I got the chance to meet Ratna, I thought it would make my dream of penning a song for a film come true,”” he tells us.

Bollywood Stars Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar meets Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu

Suresh Prabhu praises Akshay for spreading awareness on Swachh Bharat through the Bollywood Cinema

NEW DELHI: Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar have begun the promotions of their upcoming film, Toilet- Ek Prem Katha. They began the promotional tour in Delhi on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the stars of the film got an opportunity to meet Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. As their film deals with the importance of cleanliness, sanitation and PM Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat campaign, they had the conversation about the same.

Suresh Prabhu praised Akshay Kumar for his efforts to spread awareness about government’s campaign through his film and shared some photos from their meet. He wrote, “Pleasure meeting @akshaykumar, fine actor, wonderful human being. Appreciate his efforts to spread awareness abt #SwachhBharat through cinema.”

Last week, Akshay Kumar had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to have a conversation about the campaign and how that inspired his film. Akshay, who is known for his no-nonsense attitude, has never shied away from expressing his opinion. Akshay Kumar while attending a social event named ‘Transform Maharashtra’ in the first week of May, spoke about the transformation of the state. The event, which was attended by many dignitaries, saw Akshay Kumar and Devendra Fadnavis (Chief Minister-Maharashtra) as the chief guests.

Amongst the other things, Akshay Kumar won everyone’s hearts and attention when he raised the topic of mobile toilets. Speaking about the topic, Akshay Kumar unabashedly said, “Government should plan (putting up) mobile toilets every 500 meters or one km across the state. It will support cleanliness. It should be supported with an app to locate it (the nearest mobile toilet).”

In the same breath, he also revealed a dialogue from his upcoming film Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. Akshay Kumar said, “Agar biwi paas chahiye, toh ghar me sandaas chahiye”. In the same event, Akshay Kumar also mentioned that the ideation behind the film Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. After hearing Akshay Kumar’s words, Devendra Fadnavis applauded him for giving a wonderful suggestion and also assured to implement the same at the earliest.

Besides Akshay Kumar, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha also stars Bhumi Pednekar and Anupam Kher in pivotal roles. While the film is being directed by Shree Narayan Singh, it is slated to release on June 2 this year.

The Unreserved – a Film by a Team of Young filmmakers who went on a journey across the country’s length & breadth

Around India in 17 days: the story of a film on 100 travel conversations!

MUMBAI: Dirty overcrowded cars filled with boorish people– whether we’d like to admit it or not, this is what most middle class Indians think of unreserved compartments on Indian trains. It’s also as much thought as we might spare, watching hundreds of men and women rush to an incoming train to secure for themselves a few inches of space in which to travel thousands of kilometres.

But inside these compartments is a rich tapestry of lives utterly different from our own, that many of us never learn about, says filmmaker Samarth Mahajan. Journeying around the world took 80 days in the Jules Verne classic but three Mumbai boys, Omkar Divekar, Samarth Mahajan and Rajat Bhargava, went around India in 17 days in unreserved compartments of 10 trains.

Samarth should know, having spent 17 days travelling 12,000 kilometres around the country in unreserved compartments together with cinematographer Omkar Divekar and Assistant Director Rajat Bhargav. The end result of their journey is possibly a first-of-its-kind film called The Unreserved.

During the journey spanning 25,000-odd km, they spoke to over a 100 people on subjects as varied as religion and love, career and ambition. They captured their conversations with a Canon 5D DSLR camera and returned to the city with close to 45 hours of footage. This has now been edited into an hour-long feature documentary, The Unreserved, which premieres on YouTube channel Camera And Shorts on February 15.

“The trigger was realising that although unreserved travellers make up 80 to 85% of train commuters, we never actually talk about them, there’s never been a film about them,” he says.

Samarth is a part of a Mumbai filmmaking initiative called Camera and Shorts, and explains that Unreserved evolved out of a series of projects about travel. “We had done a project on a journey based on walking, where one of our team members walked from Delhi to Ajmer. In another project, we went into the Arabian Sea with fisherman, to see how fishing is done.”

A Camera And Shorts production, The Unreserved was inspired by Jagriti Yatra (journey of social awakening), an initiative by NGO Jagriti Sewa Sansthan. Jagriti Yatra takes youngsters on an annual 15-day train journey across 8,000-odd kilometres to expose them to grassroots reality.

Initially, the trio thought of doing just the longest journey in India: the 85-hour-long Dibrugarh-Kanniyakumari stretch on the Vivek Express, but decided to be more ambitious by going to the farthest point in each direction that the Indian Railways could take them to. They travelled from Mumbai to Okha in Gujarat in the west, then to Delhi and Jammu. From Jammu, they drove to Banihal, where they took the Banihal-Baramulla train, the farthest to the north. They returned to Jammu and Delhi and then headed to Dibrugarh in the northeast. From there, it was all the way to Kanniyakumari in the south, and then to Thiruvananthapuram before returning to Mumbai.

Riding trains to the corners of India, from Okha in Gujarat to Baramullah in Kashmir to Dibrugarh in Assam to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, The Unreserved maps a world of stories of people with limited means travelling the length and breadth of the country for everything from meagre work opportunities to family emergencies to fulfilling long-held dreams of seeing the world.

What stuck with Samarth most from the thousands of kilometres of journeys, was the willingness of people to talk, to reach out to their fellow travellers. In his everyday world in Mumbai, he explains, the most common complaint he hears is “we’ve become all too isolated and mistrusting of each other.”

The journey, which began in March last year, got much traction on Twitter thanks to their regular tweets. However, the charm is not in the details and nitty-gritties of travel, but in the conversations they were able to strike, and shoot, with complete strangers.

And the stories that emerged from these hundreds of conversations left their mark. “We live in a bubble. I can be in my place, be with people of my class, party, all the time, have a very misconstrued picture of India in my mind. But India is so big, and there is so much out there to see and so many people to know about,” he says, adding that words like diversity don’t come close to grasping the sheer variety and difference he encountered.

What stays with Samarth more than a year after he completed the journey are the stories of resilience he hears. Like a woman the crew met on the train from Delhi to Dibrugarh, who had taken the train to escape an abusive husband. Tired of the repeated beatings she had taken from her husband, she had decided to make her own life in her village, come what may. Taking a late night train so her husband could not find her, “She was literally on an escape from Delhi,” says Samarth.

Then there are the stories of entire villages and districts of men leaving places like Malda in West Bengal in search of the meagre work opportunities that a boom in construction in Kerala offers, often not returning to their families for months or years on end.

“What I really started feeling was respect because it takes a lot of courage to just leave your home and take it up as a way of life. They are not doing it out of selfish interests, they are doing it for their families,” explains Samarth.

Even the physical conditions of their travel, he says, is a story of struggle. “Specially say on the Delhi to Dibrugarh route, which passes through Bihar, I had no space to even move a step. There were 300 people in a space that is meant for 90 people,” he says, describing the various ways they had to adapt to their journeys. “We slept on luggage racks, on the floor, even sat in toilets sometimes,” he says.

But it wasn’t just the physical experience that was taxing.

In the first few days of travel, for instance, he often spoke to his subjects about relationships, dwelling on his own recent issues in the area. “And I accidentally met a lot of people who had troubled love lives. That was something which directly connected to what I was experiencing in life. But also it made me realise how trivial my problems were – because these people were facing issues of, say, inter-caste marriage… it was just not possible for these people to be together. It’s an impossibility,” he explains.

Just as memorable, adds Samarth, was the warmth and generosity of the many people he met along the way.

“And that token of friendship was something that I did not expect. It had never happened to me. That people changed their own schedule to show you around, because they love their place. And because they don’t want you to come away with a wrong idea about it,” he says.

One instance that stays with him is of a group of Kashmiri students, who cancelled their own plans in Srinagar to travel with the team up to Baramullah and show them a place held close to their hearts.

In Kashmir, and elsewhere, the many stereotypes and conceptions he had begun his journey with were broken down for him. Narrating a conversation around the idea of representing Prophet Muhammad in films, he says, the sheer variety of views coming up surprised him.

And for all the variety of views confronting him on every issue from the mundane to the significant, no conversation ever resulted in ill-will among the passengers.

“Those were the times people were being attacked everywhere… being called anti-national and against Indian culture,” he says of the journeys undertaken in March last year. “Those kinds of things were completely missing in the general compartments. People would maybe take offense for three minutes, but then the conversation would move on and people would too.”

The Unreserved is being released on Wednesday, February 15 on the Camera and Shorts YouTube channel. Watch the trailer for the film here:

“It wasn’t about places as about the people,” says Divekar. Far from finding their camera intrusive, people across regions, religions, caste and class divides opened up and told compelling stories, the strongest of which have been strung together in the film. The most heart-warming, of course, are those about love, like this guy in Kashmir talking about how a girl seals her commitment for you by accepting the mobile you gift her. Interestingly, he claims to have gifted mobile phones to not one but three women.

Railways bank on Bollywood celebrities to publicise Luxury Trains

Actres Deepika Padukone, Hero Randir Kapoor and filmmaker Imtiaz cancelled their plane tickets to Delhi last year and took the train instead to promote their film Tamasha in Delhi and spent the 12-hour journey on the Suvidha Express rediscovering the joys of train travel – chatting, having chai and stretching their legs at Koat Junction.

New Delhi: Countless Hindi movies and songs have been shot on trains and now Railways is banking upon Bollywood celebrities to publicise its luxury trains. An invitation has been sent to Amitabh Bachchan, and couple Ajay Devgn and Kajol to take free rides on Maharajas’ Express.

The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has decided to reach out to celebrities to publicise its ultra luxurious Maharajas’ Express. Free rides in the train have also been offered to all Indian Olympic and Paralympic medallists.

“There are plans to offer special packages to film directors for shooting films on luxury trains. We are reaching out to Bollywood celebrities to take a ride on one of the world’s most luxurious trains,” said IRCTC CMD A K Manocha.

Started in 2010, the Maharajas’ Express offers five fascinating journeys crisscrossing vibrant destinations, significant attractions and offering a vista of breathtaking landscape, culture and heritage. A truly world-class train journey is promised in each of the five itineraries.

actress-deepika-and-randhir-kapoor-having-coconut-waterWith all the luxury, the journey comes at a heavy price. For an eight-night seven-day trip, a passenger has to shell out Rs.4.6 lakh for Deluxe Cabin, Rs.6.6 lakh for a Junior Suite, Rs.9.2 lakh for a suite and Rs.16 lakh for the Presidential Suite. Tours include palaces, fortresses, World Heritage Sites, cultural sightseeing and spirituality of India. The journeys of Maharajas’ Express have even been compared to that of the legendary Orient Express of the West in refinement and luxury.

IRCTC has been planning several measures to attract passengers. Most of the occupants of the train have been foreigners and non-resident Indians. “At present, all trips are conducted between October and March. Now, we are planning to run the train in months from April to September on other routes,” said Manocha.

Bollywood and trains have had a long and mostly affectionate relationship. In fact, Bollywood has a lot to thank the Indian Railways for. From Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore’s dreamy toy train sequence to that fantastic scene from Dilwale Dilhunia Le Jayenge, trains have often been an essential aide to Bollywood romances.

We echo that sentiment wholeheartedly.! Lovers have met on trains, they’ve eloped on trains, and they’ve used the train as a prop for their song and dance sequences. There is so much the Indian Railways has given Bollywood without so much as a thank you in return. It is a gift that just keeps on giving to the film industry.

Here’s looking at how the Indian Railways have helped keep our filmy love stories on track:

Stage 1: Boy Meets Girl. Cupid Strikes.  

Pakeezah (1972)

The train scene from Pakeezah is the poetic beginning to an almost-tragic love story between Sahibjaan, played by Meena Kumari, and Salim, played by Raaj Kumar. He sees just her feet peeping put from the train berth and is instantly smitten.

Aapke paao dekhe. Bahut haseen hai.. Inhe zameen par mat utariiyega. Maile ho jaaye,” wrote Salim in a letter to the gorgeous Sahibjaan, and the audience was smitten as well.

Baaton Baaton Mein (1979)

A romance that stars the adorably cute Tina Munim as Nancy and everyman-hero Amol Palekar as Tony begins by chance on a Mumbai local. The mustachioed Tony, who fancies himself a cartoonist, cannot take his eyes off the beautiful Nancy and starts to draw a ‘portrait’ of her. While Tina’s uncle is surprisingly impressed by a stranger on a local train taking the liberty to draw a likeness of his niece, Nancy is not cool with it. Nonetheless, Tony and uncle make plans to meet at Nancy’s place later on and from here begins their on-now off-now tale of love.

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)

Yes, yes, yes. We know which train scene DDLJ is most famous for but let’s not forget that Kajol and SRK first met on a train as the two set off by Eurorail on their vacation. As the movie ends, so it begins: with Shah Rukh extending his hand to help Kajol get on the train.

Chennai Express (2013)

Rahul (naam to suna hoga?) is 40 but spry, helping not just a sprinting Meenamma onto the moving Chennai Express but also her pursuers. Shah Rukh Khan, who is clearly the champion of romance on trains, and Deepika Padukone have a chance encounter that turns into the filmiest of dramas involving goons, a disapproving father who also happens to be a don and a rival to Meenamma’s affections. But never underestimate the power of a common man and the Indian Railways.

Stage 1.0: Boy Meets Girl But she Doesn’t Know He Exists

Dil Se (1998)

The movie Dil Se is perhaps most famous for its music and the fact that Chaiyya Chaiyyafilmed atop a moving train. The song plays right after SRK catches a glimpse of Manisha Koirala at the railway station and, like all good Bollywood heroes are wont to do, he breaks into a song and dance number. Chaiyya Chaiyya was a landmark song for more reasons than the beautiful Malaika Arora Khan. This wasn’t the first time a song was filmed on top of a train, but this was definitely the first time someone was shot dancing on top of a real, moving train. Get the difference? The song appears right after Shah Rukh Khan sees for the first time and is enamored of a mysterious woman.

Stage 1.1 : Boy and Girl Are About to Meet But Don’t Know it Yet

Aradhana (1969)  

She’s on a toy train, he’s in a car. And together, they gave us a gorgeous view of the hills of Darjeeling while singing a song that lovers will remember for centuries. Rajesh Khanna sings a question asking Mere Sapno Ki Rani Kab Ayegi Tu?, little knowing that the answer is riding in the train chugging alongside the winding hill road he’s driving on.

Stage 2: Love Happens. Such Fun. Much Songs.

Baaton Baaton Mein (1979)

The story continues as the love-struck Tony changes his office and train timings to match Nancy’s. And from here begins a series of meetings and dates – on the  9.15 train, to the approval of her family and the disdain of his. The lead track of the films play over a montage of their various dates on the train, as well as all over Mumbai, convincing pining lovers all over that love happens mostly on trains.

Stage 2.0: Hero is in Raptures. Spontaneous Combustion of Singing and Dancing.

Parineeta (2005)

Kasto Mazza Hai is Saif Ali Khan’s musical epiphany as he’s coming back from Darjeeling after a business trip. After about an hour into the film, the hero FINALLY realises that he loves the heroine. Halleluiah? The song is shot on a toy train and features Vidya Balan’s cameo as Saifu just cannot stop seeing her everywhere.

Stage 3: Flirting. Wooing. Songs, songs and more songs.

The Burning Train (1980)

The whole movie revolves around a train and its passengers who love to sing, dance and happen to be an extremely pally bunch. The film had a mammoth cast and starred Hema Malini, Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Parveen Babi, Jeetendra, Neetu Singh, Danny, Simi Garewal and many, many more. The song Pal do Pal ka Saath Humara was sung by the passengers in train lead by Jitendra and Neetu who’re happily flirting with each other as their co-passengers egg them on, unaware that they will soon have to be rescued from an inferno on wheels.

Stage 3.0: She’s sulking. He woos her with song.

Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai (1981)

She is pouty and annoyed, he’s tripping in love. Starring Padmini Kolhapure and Rishi Kapoor, this was the original on-top-of-a-train song sequence, with a little help from technology  of course. The song Hoga Tumse Pyara Kaun plays after Rishi and Padmini fall in love and are still in the initial courtship period. The song is not just visually lovely but musically awesome as well. The love affair falls off track soon after, but they still do end up giving us a song to remember them by.

Stage 4: Pyaar. Ishq. Mohobbat. Shaadi.

Ajnabee (1974)

Rajesh Khanna and Zeenat Aman sing Hum Dono Do Premi as they ride atop a train on their way to elopement. They get married in a temple and then things go horribly wrong, but that’s a separate story.

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)

Love in the time of a moving train! That last train scene of DDLJ is etched on the pages of history as that epic, unforgettable moment when Shah Rukh Khan leaned out of a train leaving station to extend his hand to the heroine. Kajol, dressed in a lehenga that probably weighed a sizable amount, manages to run and get on the train.

This scene has since been rehashed and recreated in Shah Rukh’s Chennai Express as well as in Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani by Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone. Let’s just safely assume that this scene will never really go out of fashion as long as love and trains exist.

And then there is the flip side to romance – rejection. Because what’s a good desi love story without some heartbreak, right?

Stage 1: Why Are You Talking to Me? Go Away.

Jab We Met (2007)

The train is of paramount importance in the cult hit, Jab We Met. This is where the meet-greet session of the lead couple takes place. Of course, it’s basically just Kareena Kapoor talking non-stop while Shahid Kapoor gazes on like one struck by a heavy iron club. The supremely talkative (and nosy) Geet misses her train while trying to get Shahid to board again. Ironically, it was her loud chattering that the poor man was trying to escape. Happily, as we all know, the two become friends as the film progress and ends on a note that restores our faith in fate and Cupid and all things mushy.

Stage 2: Eh. Hello? Why Won’t You GO AWAY Already?

Saathiya (2002)

After chasing and stalking Rani Mukerji for a long time, Vivek Oberoi finally catches hold of her on the Mumbai local. He is in love, she couldn’t care less. He proposes to her on the train and she asks him to jump out of the train. Aaah, these lovers nowadays. Don’t you worry though. The film has a happier end than this particular scene.

Stage 3: Seriously Dude. Leave Me Alone, Or Else.

Tanu Weds Manu (2011)

About 20 minutes into the film the newly-enganged Kangana and Madhavan leave for Vaishno Devi via train with their families in tow. There is singing, dancing and then a declaration from Kangana that changes everything. Kangana asks the super sweet Madhavan to leave her alone and break off the match because she loves someone else. WHAM. Love hurts.

Stage 4: Nobody Loves Me

AapKi Kasam (1974)

Aap Ki Kasam is the strange tale of a suspicious husband with a beautiful and loving wife. They both love each other but he loves his suspicions more. He thinks she’s cheating on him and leaves her to go on a country-wide train tour while singing this deeply introspective number that leads him back to his child. Conclusion: long train rides can help us come to the right conclusion.

NGO asks GRP to pull up Anil Kapoor for train stunt

Event Firm and Anil Kapoor rapped for leaning out of train in a stunt for ’24’ promos

Anil Kapoor traveled in local train to promote 24 Season 2
Anil Kapoor traveled in local train to promote 24 Season 2

Mumbai: A non-governmental organisation called Sahas has approached the Government Railway Police (GRP) asking it to take action against actor Anil Kapoor, who drew flak after he was clicked standing on the footboard and hanging out of a local train from Churchgate to Mumbai Central on Thursday.

President of the foundation Syad Furqan Ahmed met with GRP commissioner Nikit Kaushik Saturday morning with a written letter asking the GRP to take action. “We think that the actor should apologise for what he has done, as he has a certain influence on youth. They might try to emulate him and think it’s okay to perform such stunts. We have spoken to the commissioner Kaushik and have requested him to take some action against the actor,” said Mr Ahmed.

Anil Kapoor train stuntAnil Kapoor made news recently when he travelled in a suburban local train to promote his upcoming television show 24: Season 2. But the publicity stunt seems to have got the actor into trouble after Western Railway (WR) sent a notice to the event management company behind the shoot seeking an explanation as to why he was he was travelling on the footboard.

In the letter, a copy of which is with this newspaper, the foundation has pointed out that the railways has been conducting campaigns against footboard travel and that this stunt by the actor has thrown cold water on their efforts. An enormous amount of tax payers’ money is spent on advertising to spread awareness among youth to deter them from performing such stunts, the letter further said.

Mr Ahmed has also said the foundation would be filing an RTI on the terms of the contract between the railways and the production house on which shooting was agreed upon. “The RTI will be filed to know the exact terms of the shooting that was discussed and signed upon between the production house and the railways,” Mr Ahmed added.

Anil Kapoor at station before train stuntMr Kaushik said he had asked his officers to file a report, and if a first hand report (FIR) could be filed against the actor.

The Western Railway’s (WR) Railway Police Force (RPF) had sent a notice to the marketing agency M/s Market Men which had signed the contract with the railways, on Friday itself.

The actor’s ride from Churchgate to Mumbai Central, which was a promotional event, backfired after photographs of him hanging out from the train were put on social media sites. The actor was promoting the second season of his series 24, produced by the television channel Colours.

When asked about their side of the story, spokespersons from the Channel promised a call back with their statement but did not do so.

During the promo shoot Anil Kapoor was seen hanging from the train with his co- commuters, a criminal offence under the Railway Act. In light of this the Western Railway Publicity Department sent a notice to the event management company, Market Men Consumers & Events Pvt Ltd.

“In spite of the terms and conditions to adhere strictly to safety and security during shoot, Anil Kapoor allegedly seems to be leaning from the footboard of a local train during a promo shoot on 14 July,” said an official of the Western Railway.

The Western Railway official explained that by leaning out of the running train from the footboard, the actor could inspire youngsters to perform similar stunts.

Beset with many such instances in the past when youngsters performing daredevil stunts have been killed or permanently maimed, the railway authorities have regularly campaigned for safety and security during train commutes.

Reports suggest that the Railway Protection Force (RPF) had conducted a special drive against footboard travellingand had prosecuted 2,809 passengers for the offence between 1 July to 14 July. In 2015, thirteen commuters died and 89 were injured after dashing into poles while travelling on footboards of local trains.

Dipesh Tank, the founder of War Against Railway Rowdies (WARR), said, “We all know the following Anil Kapoor has as a star and just by sending a notice to the event organiser, nothing would be achieved. Instead, the railways should ask Kapoor to volunteer and spread awareness to discourage people, especially the youth, from performing such stunts.”

The 59- year- old actor, who took a Borivali-bound slow local from Churchgate station on Thursday, shared the event’s pictures on his Twitter account with the caption, “I think I made a lot of people late for work today!”

Keerthy Suresh’s next film with Dhanush titled ‘Rail’

Dhanush in RailChennai: The makers of actor-producer Dhanush’s next with Keerthy Suresh have announced the name as Rail. The first look have also been unvelied. The film revolves around a character’s journey in a train from Chennai to Delhi. Earlier, the makers had erected a massive railway station set here to shoot some important sequences.

“Since most of the shooting will take place inside a train and in and around railway stations, the team has built a station set with a train. The regular shooting has started and Dhanush is expected to join soon,” a source from the film’s unit said. Being directed by Prabhu Solomon, the film features Dhanush as a pantry worker in a train.

Dhanush in Rail2

Though a speculated title, ‘Rail’ makes sense as the film’s story unfolds in a moving train. With Dhanush playing an Indian railway catering employee, the movie has Keerthi Suresh as its female lead and is being directed by Prabhu Solomon of Mynaa and Kumki fame.

Dhanush in Rail3

 

The movie has been reportedly shot on the Duranto Express between Chennai and Delhi. Initially, the makers were thinking of naming it ‘Rail’ or ‘Delhi to Chennai’.  They decided ‘Rail’ was a better title. The Tamil Nadu government has a policy of giving entertainment tax exemption to movies that have Tamil titles, so it’s unsure whether this would qualify as a Tamil title. Eventually, they settled for the latter. Dhanush is to play Poochiappan, a pantry boy and Keerthy Suresh’s character is called Saroja who is a touch-up girl to an actress.

Prabhu Solomon has a great reputation for making amazingly natural and rural stories with relatable characters. After the critically successful Mynaa and Kumki, it remains to be seen if Rail will also join this great list.

The movie is all set to release for Valentine’s Day this year. It is said to be in post-production now. Prabhu Solomon takes very realistic rural love stories. In this film, Dhanush plays a pantry boy called Poochiappan while Keerthy’s character Saroja is a touch-up girl to an actress.

Railway Coolies celebrate Amitabh Bachchan’s birthday

Amitabh Bachchan CoolieCommemorating his iconic role in the 1983 movie Coolie, porters at the Habibganj railway station in Bhopal on Sunday celebrated the 73rd birthday of Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan.

Born on October 11, 1942, Amitabh Harivansh Bachchan, is an Indian film actor. With more than 45 years of filmy career, Amitabh first gained popularity in the early 1970s for movies like Deewar and Zanjeer, and was dubbed India’s first “angry young man” for his on-screen roles in Bollywood. He has since appeared in over 180 Indian films in a career spanning more than four decades. Bachchan is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema. So total was his dominance of the movie scene in the 1970s and 1980s that the French director François Truffaut called him a “one-man industry.”

The coolies set up a pandal outside the station, where they put up a life-size poster of the actor.

They cut a cake, prayed for the actor’s long life and sang and danced to songs of the 1983 movie Coolie, which starred Bachchan in the main role.

“The film Coolie not only gave us recognition but also respect from people.

May Amitabh Bachchan live a long and healthy life,” Rakesh, a coolie, told.

RPF made a Video with the DDLJ Theme: a Must Watch

Who does not love famous Bollywood film Dilwale Dulhaniya Lejayenge? and the Train scene is loved by almost everyone where Simran runs behind the running train to hold Raj’s hand and get into the train and finally their love wins. Yes, this is the happy part of the story.

But what if Simran fell into the track? What if Raj gets hit by a poll? What if any mishap occurs? Actually, its all happy and awesome in the movies, but in real life, people should never practice such things as they can be highly dangerous.

So Railway Police Force from Uttar Pradesh came up with this amazing video which takes the train theme of DDLJ where we see an animated version of DDLJ train scene. Simran runs behind the train, but unlike in the movie, she steps on a banana peel and slips into the track and dies, on the other hand, Raj who is putting his head out to get hold of Simran hits a poll and gets severe injuries.

GRP SSP Gopeshnath Khanna who got this idea of making a video said, “Do not board a moving train and do not allow your body parts out of the door or window of the moving train.”

Film Shootings on trains to cost double now

bollywood train scenesNew Delhi: The Indian Railways may have failed to negotiate a price with the producers of ‘Skyfall’, a James Bond movie, to shoot on its properties in 2011 but the national transporter seems to be undeterred in encashing its popularity among movie makers.

From the beginning of next month, railways has decided to almost double the charge for shooting of films on special trains. The rate for special trains for shooting films will be a minimum of Rs 4.74 lakh per day compared to the existing around Rs 2.31 lakh.

The charges are for the movement of the film special train of four coaches and one SLR (half luggage van) for a maximum distance of 200 km and it includes detention charges, service charges, haulage charges and engine detention charges among others.

However, an official said that for movement of film specials for more than 200 km or having more than four coaches and one SLR, the actual charge would be calculated on coach to coach basis and the actual distance covered by the train. The charges were last revised in 2009.

The circular mentioned that the per km haulage charge for filming in special trains consisting not more than four coaches, excluding the SLR, would be equal to the seat/berth provided in each class for the distance the special train covers. The minimum fare per km would be Rs 1,044 per km for trains on broad gauge and Rs 1,628 on meter and narrow gauges.

There would be separate charges for dining/kitchen/pantry car coaches, SLR and luggage van, detention charges for the train as well as the locomotive, security deposit of Rs 50,000 per coach subject to minimum Rs 2.5 lakh, service charge at 30%, and empty haulage charge.

There will be a special hilly area surcharge of 20% on total charges for trains on narrow gauge. This will be in addition to the above charges. In case of AC and First class coaches, service tax of 3.7% would be levied separately.

Besides these charges, licence fee too has to be paid to shoot on railway installations or premises, including stations and trains. This is fixed at Rs 1 lakh for A1 and A cities, Rs 50,000 for B1 and B cities, and Rs 25,000 for other locations. Another Rs 30,000 is for using moving/ stable railway coaches.

Gigantic Railway Station set for Dhanush’s film

dhanushThe makers of actor-producer Dhanush’s next yet-to-be-titled Tamil project have erected a massive railway station set here to shoot some important sequences. the film revolves around a character’s journey in a train from here to Delhi.

Prabhu Solomon is all set for his new film with Dhanush, which will start rolling from mid July. The film, which will be shot entirely on trains and stations, will have Dhanush essaying the role of a pantry worker and Keerthi Suresh will play his love interest.

“Since most of the shooting will take place inside a train and in and around railway stations, the team has built a station set with a train. The regular shooting has started and Dhanush is expected to join soon,” a source from the film’ unit said.

Being directed by Prabhu Solomon, the film features Dhanush as a pantry worker in a train. “The story is about the events that take place inside Duronto Express train from Chennai to New Delhi.

Hollywood action choreographer Roger Yuan, who has worked in movies like Batman Begins, Skyfall and Shangai Noon, will be choreographing stunt sequences for the film.

dhanush2The team is currently planning to shoot action sequences in the train under the supervision of international stuntman Roger Yuan, who has worked in films such as Batman Begins and Skyfall,” the source said. The film also features Keerthy Suresh.

Sources say that the action-thriller produced by Sathyajothi Thyagarajan will have several edge-of-the-seat stunts. Since it is difficult to shoot the entire movie in a real train, a massive set resembling railway stations and a train has been put up at the Binny Mills in the city. As per Roger’s advice, the set has been erected keeping the action sequences in mind. A major chunk of the shoot will take place here.

Meanwhile, Dhanush’s forthcoming Tamil film Maari is slated to release on April 17.

Shruti Haasan ‘impressed’ by Mumbai Metro Rail

Actress Shruti HaasanMumbai: Shruti Haasan has found a perfect way to overcome Mumbai’s infamous traffic issue – it’s a Metro ride and the actress is gaga over it.

“Took the metro this morning in Mumbai and I must say I’m impressed,” Shruti tweeted on Thursday.

On the professional front, the daughter of actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan is gearing up for her film “Gabbar Is Back”, in which she shares screen space with Akshay Kumar.

Directed by Krish and co-produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the remake of the 2002 Tamil film “Ramanaa” also features Kareena Kapoor Khan in a special role. The film is slated to release on Friday.

Central Railway earns Rs.1.23 Crore from Film Shoots

Mumbai: The Central Railway has earned Rs 1.23 crore in last finacial year, from shooting of domestic and international films and documentaries on its locations.

Of this, media house British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) alone has contributed Rs 62.83 lakh, officials said.

“We earned Rs 1.23 crore during financial year 2014-15 from filmmakers towards charges for using our railway stations and other premises,” Central Railway Chief PRO Narendra Patil said here today.

Taking cue from Bobby Jasoos, Central Railway hires Detectives to nab Criminals

Bobby-jasoos-movieमुंबई Mumbai: In July this year, Vidya Balan donned the hat of a detective in her film, Bobby Jasoos. While the movie didn’t set the cash registers ringing, it seems like it did manage to impress a few, especially the officials of the Central Railways.

The members of the department were so inspired by the actor’s way of foiling criminal activities in the film that they, too, have now decided to rope in private detectives to keep a watch on the illegal activities that take place on the trains and at railway stations.

Sunil Kumar Sood, general manager, Central Railways, confirmed the news, saying, “Vidya, who played the role of a detective in her last movie, is our inspiration for this move.”

Sahil Sangha, who was the co-producer of the film, is happy that an idea in his film is now being used for the greater good of people. “This is a happy thing to happen. We would like to think that we’re lucky to help, even remotely, towards everyone’s safety. We also hope that the idea gets implemented soon,” he says.

When we contacted Vidya, who is currently busy shooting for her next with Emraan Hashmi, she was unaware of this development. The actor was pleasantly surprised to know that this step is being taken.

“Films have always mirrored society and vice versa, and I’m happy to be part of a film that has inspired the Central Railways. It’s a move in the right direction. It’s great that they are involving private detective agencies to find evidence against the miscreants. I’m glad that through my work, I have been able to contribute towards the betterment of the society,” she says.

Top Kollywood Film Stars give surprise to Namma Metro commuters

बंगलूरू Bangalore (SBC):  The Metro has not only the changed the way people commute but is now catching the attention of filmmakers too as Namma Metro trains and stations are now the happening places for movie shoots in Bangalore. The makers of Rana Vikrama starring Puneeth Rajkumar shot a few sequences at the Bangalore Metro Station on Monday. According to Pavan Wadeyar, this is first film in Sandalwood to be shot in a Metro. “Ranavikrama is the first #Kannada movie to shoot in #NammaMetro (sic),” he tweeted.

Ranavikrama producers too are likely to be billed Rs 2.9 lakh, the charges fixed for the four-hour schedule: two hours on the train and the rest in station areas.

A few months ago, a Telugu film unit had landed in the MG Road station. Now it’s Sandalwood’s turn to board the train.BMRC had raised a bill of Rs 2.9 lakh from the Telugu film.

Metro-stationThe introduction scene of Adah Sharma was shot there. It shows Puneeth waiting for her at the station. “As Adah arrives, the couple exchange a few words, get into a train and go home,” he says.

Apparently, it was a quite a feat to plan a shoot at such a location but it did not deter the makers of the film. “A shoot in the Metro station costs `70,000 per hour. Since Rana Vikrama is a Kannada film, we got a 25 per cent discount and paid `40,000 per hour. We also had to pay for the insurance of the train that cost `2.50 crore and a bank guarantee of `5 lakh to get permission. I was particular about shooting the scenes in the station, so I didn’t mind waiting for 15 days to make it happen,” he explains.

For all the trouble that the crew went through, the shoot went smoothly, says Pavan. “There wasn’t much of a crowd in the station during the shoot, but we did have locals who had gathered to watch,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Adah was so excited to work with Puneeth that she posted a selfie taken with the star on Twitter.  “First kannada film on the metro rail 🙂 thank u @PavanWadeyar ! And here’s a selfie with powerstar Puneeth rajkumar(sic)!” she tweeted.

The shoot continued on Brigade Road behind Rex theatre. “There is an old house where a family scene is being shot with Puneeth, Adah and Sudha Belawadi,” Pavan says.
RANAVIKRAMA

Producers of James Bond flick ‘Skyfall’ approached me for a film shoot: Dinesh Trivedi

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  Former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi on Monday disclosed in the Lok Sabha that the producers of James Bond flick ‘Skyfall’ had approached him to shoot a train sequence in India. However, they refused to accept his condition that they would not show passengers travelling atop the train.

Participating in the discussion on railway budget, Trivedi narrated the anecdote when the aides of Daniel Craig, who played the character of James Bond, had approached him during his days in the rail ministry, seeking permission to shoot a train sequence for ‘Skyfall’. “I put three conditions: that they will not show that passengers in India travel on roofs of trains, that will not compromise with safety during the shoot, and that James Bond would sign up as the brand ambassador for Indian Railways. “As per the third condition, which was only added in jest, James Bond would be required to say that “Indian Railways is stronger than James Bond”.

While the producers accepted the second and even the third condition, they said they did not want to shoot in India if they could not show people on train rooftops. “There will be a scene where James Bond is going to fight on the roof of the train. Otherwise, why would we come to India?” they replied. Even though Trivedi said the talks fell through as he said he would never permit the producers to “show us in poor light,” he acknowledged that people travelling on train rooftops was an image that had come to be associated with Indian Railways across the world. “Why, even the Bollywood song “Chaiyya Chaiyya” was shot on a train rooftop,” recalled Trivedi.

Railways and Bollywood: Cinema Shooting in Railway areas brings business

Mumbai: When it comes to Bollywood, countless movies have featured trains and Indian railways several times. The presence of trains in proving to be very beneficial for the railways as they get Rs. 1.25 lakh as remuneration for only one engine along with one carriage at CST station of Mumbai.

Movies like Gunday, Chennai Express, Jab We Met and Dil Waale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge have all paid handsome amount of money to the railways so that they can use trains to film their imperative scenes. When the train is used with four carriages, then an amount of 2.5 lakh is to be paid daily. Railway is earning more than 2 crore each year just by the means of shooting.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal railway station is the most demanded station as the building of the station is the list of world heritage site. Shooting of more than 50 films take place on the tracks of Mumbai stations each year and the fees of shooting for a day varies from one lakh to 2.5 lakh depending on the type of location.

Some small stations even charge an amount of 60 to 70 thousands. Other things required apart from the fees are a security fees of five lakh and an insurance of 5 crore.

Train to play a key Character Role in upcoming Tamil Film

There have been times when cinema has used non-humans as characters. Birds, animals, cars and even trains have all played key roles in films.

Kannan’s Oru Oorla Rendu Raja (Two Kings In One Country) in Tamil – to soon go on the floors – will have a train as one of its characters. The director has hired a platform in Mayiladuthurai (earlier known as Mayavaram) railway station and a train for his movie.

Kannan said the train would be a “character”.

Of course, this will not be the first time that a film is going to have a non-human essaying a character. One of India’s most renowned auteurs, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, once said that a movie “is not just an actor’s performance. He is only one of the several elements…I take care to include animals or birds or even insects in my films. Man becomes truly complete only with the interplay of life forms around him, including plants and trees. This is what makes him one with Nature”.

True to this, “the street cat that strolls on the roof in Swayamvaram (One’s Own Choice), the naughty tuskers, and the black cow that chases Sankarankutty out of the shop veranda into lashing rain in Kodiyettam (The Ascent), different kinds of dogs and the hen that lays eggs in the attic in Anantaram (Monologue), the cranes, the crows, parrots, mynahs and a host of other birds, and the fish in the temple pond in Vidheyan (The Servile) are a few of these non-human actors which have made my movies richer with their presence and histrionics”.

Even more incredible was Adoor’s decision to make a palm tree a character in Nizhalkkuthu (Shadow Kill), set in pre-independence India and during Gandhi’s Quit India Movement. It talks about a hangman in the princely State of Travancore (now part of Kerala) and his guilt-ridden existence.

There have been many others in Indian cinema who have used non-humans with great effect. Elephants and dogs have essayed major roles. The stone figures of gods and goddesses have replicated men and women with heroes and heroines talking to them, complaining to them – as if they were human beings.

Trains have been great leitmotifs in cinema – and they have been wonderful Cupids. Remember that song in Professor with Shammi Kapoor and Kalpana jumping in and out of the slow moving toy train as it chugs through the Ghoom Loop, near Darjeeling (Mein chali, mein chali…). Remember Rajesh Khanna in a Jeep with Sharmila Tagore in a train in Aradhana with the evergreen number, Mere sapno ki rani…. And some of you will certainly have not forgotten one of Mani Ratnam’s best works, Alaipayuthey (Waves, which was remade in Hindi as Saathiya with Rani Mukherjee and Vivek Oberoi) starring Madhavan and Shalini. Here the train acts as Cupid.

So, the train in Kannan’s Oru Oorla Rendu Raja may well be an engaging part of the narrative.

And trains have, since time immemorial, been so romantic. They have helped men and women meet, helped them to begin a love story. Nobody can forget David Lean’s great classic, Brief Encounter – where Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson fall in love in a rail station with the story playing out against the whistle of the engines and the clanging sound of the bogies till the affair disappears in the smoke of the locomotives.

Sometimes, an estranged man-woman relationship is repaired in a train station as we saw in Kora Kagaz with Vijay Anand and Jaya Bahaduri romantically reconciling with each other in a waiting room.

So, it will be interesting to see how Kannan will use the train to weave his tale of two kings in (maybe) one train.

IRPS Officer Rakesh Kumar takes over as CEO of CBFC

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has finally got a new CEO.  An Officer of Indian Railways Personnel Services (IRPS) Rakesh Kumar took over the reins of the all-important body which regulates the functioning of the film industry on Friday.

“I took charge only today. I will need at least a week to understand the job and decide on what I can do and should be doing,” Rakesh Kumar told soon after taking charge.

It will not be smooth sailing for Rakesh Kumar because the Indian film industry has been very critical of the CBFC for the way it censors films. The CBFC has had to take a lot of criticism for the “dos and don’ts” which it gives to the industry in the form of advises. Top film makers have challenged the decision of the CBFC in the way films are censored and dragged it to court.

It took some time for the union ministry of information and broadcasting to appoint someone as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CBFC while putting Manish Desai of PIB as in-charge. However, even though Rakesh Kumar, a Sr.DPO on the Indian Railways was appointed in November 2013 itself, he took charge on Friday.

Like his predecessor Pankaja Thakur, Rakesh Kumar is also a rank outsider in the sense that he has not worked as a regional officer in CBFC, to have had some knowledge about film censorship. It is learnt that a film-related diploma that he has added to his profile. It may be mentioned here that the previous CEO Pankaja Thakur has gone back to her parent department – customs and central excise – after she completed her three-year tenure as CEO. Rakesh Kumar will also have a three-year term to serve.

While the CBFC finally has a CEO, it is finding it difficult to get the right candidates for selection as regional officers in various locations. As a result of candidates not fulfilling the required criteria, the posts of regional officers for Mumbai, Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram have yet to be filled. However, in-charge officers have been temporarily appointed from those belonging to the Indian Information Service (IIS).

It is learnt that the ministry got several applications for the regional officers posts but the applicants did not fit the bill. The ministry has now begun the process of once again calling for applications.

Film Shooting in Railway Areas faces cumbersome procedures, no deterrence

Chennai (MAS): The procedures that filmmakers have to follow to obtain permission is mindboggling – bank guarantees, indemnity bonds and hefty security deposits.

In spite of having so many formalities at the back-end, what surprises railway officials is the perseverance of many filmmakers in using authentic train and other railway properties on their sets, especially given the access to state-of-the-art studio craft and SFX facilities.

For one, the application seeking permission for a film shoot involving railway property has to be made at least one month in advance. And, if a rake and crew is required, the same is released only after weightage has been given to passenger needs, and that too against a security deposit of Rs.50,000 per coach.

Further, the filmmaker has to remit a hefty insurance premium against the value of railway properties used apart from furnishing a refundable Rs. 5 lakh bank guarantee as indemnity bond.

Among the six railway divisions in Southern Railway, Chennai and Madurai have featured the most popular locales for film shoots (about 25 locations each), followed by Salem (10 locations) , Palakkad, Tiruchi and Thiruvananthapuram (9 spots). Railway officials point out that with the expansion of operations at Chennai Central and Egmore stations leaving only a window of three to five hours as “idle time”, these terminals are more or less out of bounds for film shoots these days.

However, with busy traffic routes not sanctioned for shooting schedules, these days most of the train scenes are being shot in places like Chengalpattu, the Guruvayoor-Shoranur stretch, Sengottai, Thenmalai, Udhagamandalam, Tenkasi and Palani, an official said.

Ipswich to screen “The Railway Man” before release

9-2151727-ips161213film16a_t460Queensland:  IPSWICH’S newest cinema is to stage an advance charity screening of the anticipated film “The Railway Man” starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth.

The wartime drama has a special link to Ipswich, with some scenes from the movie filmed at the Ipswich Railway Workshops.

Based on a remarkable autobiography, the film tells the true story of Eric Lomax, a British Army officer who was tormented as a prisoner of war at a Japanese labour camp during World War 2.

The film’s producer Chris Brown, who is based in Queensland, said it was always important for him to try and bring film productions to his home state.

He said the Ipswich Rail Workshops had been the perfect space to film The Railway Man’s climactic scenes.

Mr Brown said filming at the location could not have worked without the support of Ipswich City Council, property owner Bob Ell and the community.

In light of its local connection, Limelight Cinemas CEO Ross Entwistle said he had arranged an advanced screening of the film at his newly opened movie theatre at Riverlink.

The screening will raise money for the Ipswich Mayor’s Community Fund and take place four days before The Railway Man’s national release.

The event will take place this Sunday at 4pm. Tickets cost $10.

Caught: Vidya Balan begging outside Hyderabad Railway Station

0331_1aHyderabad (HYB):  Yes, the woman in the picture – disguised as a beggar outside a railway station in Hyderabad – is indeed Vidya Balan, shooting for her 2014 release Bobby Jasoos. The picture floated online ever since a leading English daily published it, has created ripples on Twitter, what with people taking some time to actually believe that it is her. We have also learnt that while Vidya was sitting amongst real beggars, a women passing by stopped and gave Vidya some money. She also scolded her about how she should get a job and not beg.

Ms Balan will be seen playing a super sleuth in the movie, racking her brains and cracking some interesting cases. In this spy thriller we will get to see an older Balan dating a much younger Ali Fazal. Now this whole ‘mature woman-young 20 something guy’ trend seems to be catching up at quite an impressive speed in Bollywood. Case in point: recently Imran Khan and Kareena Kapoor were seen romancing each other in Gori Tere Pyaar Mein.
standard_img-529c5c4dcfb65-posts-5296The first look poster looks quite fascinating. Apparently Vidya made sure she looks like a real beggar for this particular shot. As you can see, she put on a faded plaid lungi, opted for the unkempt-unwashed hairstyle and sat on a pavement outside Hyderabad railway station. Just when she was getting into the skin of the character, a passer-by approached her and said that since she looks all fit and fine, she should get a job rather than pleading for money.

Now that was proof enough that VB was looking like a real bhikari. Those accessories, the jacket; the ensemble and the styling are so similar to one of those wandering fakirs you see on the roads hollering alakh niranjan.

Bobby Jasoos is produced by Dia Mirza and Sahil Sangha and will release in 2014. Let’s see if this female Sherlock Holmes manages to create a jangling sound of the rupee at the box office.
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South Central Railway film shooting sites gain popularity

Secunderabad (SC):  The South Central Railway is gaining popularity with Bollywood, Tamil and even the Kannada movie industries for shooting.

A fortnight back an untitled movie under the Yash Chopra banner starring Aditya Roy Kapoor was shot at the Nampally station and a few other production houses have also sought permissions.  The SCR has 16 locations that are rented out for shootings and officials say that the popularity stems from the fact that there are very few alternative locations. The industry friendly approach of the SCR also helps. Some of the recent movies that were shot in SCR’s locations were Sitamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu, Maryada Ramanna and Julai.

Among the 16 most popular destinations let out for shootings are Necklace Road, Nagapalli, Shankarapally, Godamguda, Lingampalli, Vikarabad, Sadashivpet, Hyderabad Station (Hyderabad-Secunde-rabad section), Timmapur between Kacheguda-Dhone, Kacheguda, Manoharabad (Secunderabad-Nizamabad section), Rajahmundry (Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam section), Kadiyam, Kotala, Madanna-palli Road-Tummanagutta (Guntakal-Chittoor section).

SCR lets out locations as per the demand of the script, trains and even manpower needed for the shootings.

This year permissions for close to 35 films have been given while in 2012 permissions for 20 films had been given.

Though the Ramoji Film City has a railway station and dummy trains in its campus for shootings, many big budget movies are now looking for a larger setting and hence are approaching the SCR, say officials. “We have given permission for Bollywood, Tamil and even Kannada movies though earlier SCR was mainly the favourite of Tollywood producers. There are a few scenic locations on the SCR like the Guntakal-Chittoor section, Kacheguda-Dhone, Tirupati-Chittoor and Hyderabad-Wadi which are popular,” said an official.

Bollywood and Railways – Bond beyond the Lifeline!

Chennai chennai-expressExpress (2013)

Shah Rukh Khan’s iconic train scene from Dilwale Dulhania LeJayenge was recreated in this Rohit Shetty flick when Rahul Mithaiwala (SRK) gives his hand to Meenamma (Deepika Padukone). A few scenes were shot in CST Terminus while Vasco Da Gama station in Goa was shown as Kalyan railway station in the film. The train part was quite a visual treat with beautiful shots of waterfalls, forested hills and lakes. It did succeed in showcasing the natural beauty of South India to some extent.

baton-baton-meinBaton Baton Mein (1979)
One of the most loved films of Amol Palekar, Baton Baton Mein had Tony Braganza (Palekar) meeting the lovely Nancy Perriera (Tina Munim) for the first time in a 9am local train from Bandra to Churchgate. Late actor David who is Nancy’s neighbour, Tom gets the couple introduced to one another. In the next few months, the train becomes their meeting point, a place where they share their feelings, hopes and aspirations. From the quintessential scenes of shy boy and girl trying to avoid each other’s gaze to the sense of yearning conveyed in the song Kahan Tak Yeh Mann Ko, the train is quite central to their story of love, separation and reunion.

jab-we-metJab We Met (2007)
Ratlam, one of the busiest junctions on the Mumbai-Delhi route and known for its sev, was made infamous after the release of Jab We Met. Quite a few people enquired about ‘Hotel Decent’ after seeing the film. Imitiaz Ali’s romantic comedy has some of the best train scenes in the history of Bollywood. Who can forget the scene with the station master in Ratlam junction and dialogues like, “Zindagi, ek rail ki patri hai, ek inch ka bend aur meelo ki doori hai, meri bhi kahi train choothi hai par un zamane me main mard tha”, “by God aaj tak ek train miss nahi hui meri” and more. All in all, the film gave Indian Railways a kind of publicity; it hadn’t received in a really long time.

MetroLife In A…Metro (2007)
Though a greater part of this Anurag Basu film captures the loneliness and tribulations of Maximum City, the train sequence where Akash (Shiney Ahuja) tries to protect Shikha (Shilpa Shetty) from getting pushed in the gent’s compartment shows the tender romance that develops between the two. The train platform is also the backdrop of the scene where Shikha tells Akash that she can’t leave her husband and family for him, and says her last good-bye. In another sequence, Neha (Kangana Ranaut) chases Rahul (Sharman Joshi) to the station as she realises that she’s in love with him. The local trains in the film seem to say that life goes on.

SaathiyaSaathiya (2002)
After their tiff at the wedding, Aditya (Vivek Oberoi) and Suhani(Rani Mukherjee) manage to spot each other in Mumbai iconiclocal trains. Aditya tries to catch a glimpse of Suhani everydayin the train and finally traces her down to her medical college with the help from his friends. Most of their courtship happens in the local stations and trains in the midst of crowds and commotion. With the peppy O Humdum Suniyo Re playing in the background, Saathiya was a perfect reflection to Mumbai’s romantic spirit that thrives in the middle of chaos.

dombivali-fastDombivali Fast (2005)
The opening scene of Nishikant Kamat’s critically acclaimed film depicts the grind of Mumbai where Madhav Apte (Sandeep Kulkarni) boards the overcrowded local train, performs dull office work and rushes to board the packed train home. The train is also the setting where the idealistic Apte constantly hears and reflects about the corruption and anarchy in the city. The film’s climax is also shot inside a train where police officials shoot down a deranged Apte who has been on a rampage in the city trying to set things right. The train was used as an apt metaphor to show the stress of daily life in the city.

Here are a few more…

  • Dev Anand oozes romance as he sings uparwala jaankar anjaan hai (Kala Bazaar) to Waheeda Rehman in the ‘upper’ berth.
  • Mere sapnon ki rani had Sharmila Tagore in a train being followed by Rajesh Khanna in a car.
  • Chaiyan chaiyan (Dil Se) shot atop a running train remains iconic.
  • Ghulam’s bike race featuring Aamir Khan and Deepak Tijori towards a running train is memorable.

Bollywood & Railways: Saif Ali Khan in Bullett Raja shooting at the historic Kakori Rly Stn.

26kakori-railway-station1For his upcoming action drama Bullett Raja, filmmaker Tigmanshu Dhulia has shot in various parts of Uttar Pradesh and Kolkata.

Tigmanshu loves shooting at historical places, and a major sequence of his upcoming film, Bullett Raja has been shot at Kakori.

Kakori has gone down in history as the place where freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad looted a train in his fight against the British Raj.

Bullett Raja got itself associated with history by shooting at the Kakori crossing. I have always been a student of history and really enjoy shooting at places with great historical value,” said an elated Tigmanshu.
26kakori-railway-station2We hear the action sequence in Kakori was shot for three days, and was one of the most difficult and challenging sequences of the film.

A source close to the team said, “Kakori train by pass is a beautiful location to shoot as it is not densely populated. We did extensive recce to make a note of the train arriving pattern. The crew used to be informed 15 minutes in advance, to avoid any kind of damage or causality.  The safety measures taken to shoot this part were abundant to avoid any kind of mishaps. This place is not much known in the film industry.”
26kakori-railway-station3Apart for Saif Ali Khan, the film stars Sonakshi Sinha, Jimmy Shergill, Vidyut Jamwal, Gulshan Grover, Raj Babbar and Chunky Pandey.

It will release on November 29.

Rail Film Festival organized by CR’s Nagpur Division

NAGPUR: Railways are a part of many cinemas and films. On Friday, in a first of its kind effort, a documentary film festival on Railways was organized by Films Division and Nagpur Division of Central Railway (CR). Documentaries featuring different aspects of railways were showcased during the programme meant for railways officers and their families.

Celebrating the role of Indian Railways in the film industry, documentary ‘Trains Within 24 Frames’ tried to capture the romance between motion pictures and trains. “The film is directed by Rita Hemrajani, an Indian Railway Personnel Services officer who is on deputation to Film Board. She sowed the idea of the documentary film festival on railways,” said RK Chandel, senior branch manager, Films Division, Mumbai.

The documentaries reflected the various relationships that railways had with different people. While A Race With Death, an animation film addressed the public on safety measures at unmanned level crossing, Courtesy Costs Nothing is aimed at railway’s own employees. About eight documentaries were screened.

“All these films have been made over different period of time and showcase the working of railways and its interaction with different people. They showcase the difference that railways has made in the lives of the people and the country,” said Brijesh Dixit, divisional railway manager, CR, Nagpur Division.

Three ‘Heropanti’ actors had a close shave with death on Railway Track

Patiala: Actors of an upcoming film narrowly avoided being mowed down by a train after an accident on railway tracks

What could have turned into a catastrophe was averted at the last minute, with three actors from Heropanti having a close shave with certain death. The car they were travelling in turned turtle in the middle of a railway track in Patiala. However, quick action prevented the cast members from being mowed down by a train.

The actors had been shooting in Patiala for their film and were returning to their hotel around midnight after wrapping up the day’s work. Onlookers say the SUV vehicle they were travelling in overturned when one of its tyres burst, sending the car hurtling on to the tracks. Says a unit member, `The drive back from the sets to their hotel room should have lasted 45 minutes. But it turned out to be a nightmare for them. It could have turned into a major accident.`

Actor Vikram Singh, who was sitting in the front seat of the car escaped unhurt, while his co-star Arun Verma received 12 stitches in his head. The other actor, Prashant Singh suffered from some internal injuries on his hand, while the SUV’s driver Vicky suffered from a major fracture in his hand.

Says Vikram, `We were all talking in the car and suddenly it happened. The car flipped over, banged on an electric pole and went flying onto the tracks. There were no lights on the road and I immediately informed the others about what had happened.” Fortunately, for them, another car from the sets was enroute the hotel, which drove them straight to the hospital. “Director Sabbir Khan reached the spot along with other crew members. After a day’s break, we resumed work.”

Bangalore International Film Festival chugs in on Dec 26 with Special Films on Trains

More than 140 films will be screened over seven days, at seven screens

Trains, which have captured the imagination of filmmakers since the first movie shot by the Lumiere brothers in the 19th century, will be the focus of special genre films to be screened at the sixth edition of the Bangalore International Film Festival (6BIFFes) from December 26, 2013 to January 2, 2014.

Film including 27 Down by Awtar Kaul and Murder on the Orient Express by Sidney Lumet will be among the special films screened, said H.N. Narahari Rao, Artistic Director of 6BIFFes.

Venues

Viewers will be treated to more than 140 films across seven screens as part of the film festival.

These include three screens at Fun Cinemas on Cunningham Road, two screens at Fame Lido, and Sulochana and Priyadarshini screens at the Department of Information and Badami House. “Totally there will be over 245 screenings,” Mr. Rao said.

What’s on offer

Films have been classified under the following categories: retrospective, masters of cinema, train and cinema, special focus on Iceland, Korea, Taiwan and Germany, international film critics award winners, cinema of the world, Asian cinema, and Chitrabharati — Kannada cinema.

Thespian Rajkumar’s films are expected to be a major attraction in the retrospective category.

Films of French director Claire Denis, Serbian filmmaker Goran Paskaljeviæ, U.K.’s Mike Light and India’s own Bimal Roy will also be featured in this category.

Samurai films from Japan, which have not been screened in the country so far, will be a major attraction for students of cinema. Gate of Hell by Teinosuke Kinugasa, The Crucified Lovers by Kenji Mizoguchi, Benten Boy by Ito Disukai and Fort of Death by Eiichi Kudo will be some of them.

“We are trying to get at least five Hungarian films including Mefisto by István Szabó. We are also trying to get some landmark films from Latin America,” said N. Vidyashankar, deputy artistic director

Besides, he said, “For the first time, cine enthusiasts will have an opportunity to watch Italian neo-realist films including Vittorio De Seta’s Bread, Love and Dreams and Jina Tolo Brigada, and Luigi Comencini’s Bandits of Orgosolo.

Delay

However, the international competition section is a casualty in this edition too — it was missing from the fifth edition — as the organisers are hard pressed for time. “Had the artistic director been appointed in July, the competition section could have been included in this festival by starting the process early. Now, it is too late,” Mr. Rao said.

The government directed the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy to hold 6BIFFes only in September. And, according to sources, the festival’s organising committee, chaired by Information Minister Santosh Lad, has not met even once so far.

Bollywood, Sport Stars team up to curb Deaths on rail tracks in Mumbai

Mumbai:  Alarmed by large number of deaths in the city caused due to unwarranted crossing of railway tracks, railway officials in Mumbai are looking up to Bollywood and sports celebrities to star in short films for creating awareness.

Short films of a minute’s duration on the subject will be screened at multiplexes while five-minute-long films will be screened at schools, colleges, housing societies and slums.

About 3,500 people who die annually on rail tracks “include people falling from trains and those crossing tracks among others. At any given station, one can see a large number of commuters jumping on the tracks to change platforms. We need to make the people realise that these short-cuts can cause death,” a senior railway official said.

“To curb this menace, we plan to rope in prominent personalities. It should make a difference to the commuters when their idols tell them not to cross tracks,” he added.

Besides short films, the railway officials will also run a high-intensity campaign and put up posters in trains and at stations. Railway officials said that they are doing everything possible to cut down death rates.

According to a RTI query, filed, nearly 40,000 commuters died and an equal number were injured over the last decade.

Indian Railway’s guard H Kumar soon-to-be the Producer and Director of Bollywood Films

1899145From being a struggling actor to a soon-to-be producer and director, Indian Railway’s guard H Kumar talks about his life and struggles aboard the Borivli slow.

In the middle of the photo shoot at Churchgate station, when H Kumar happily poses for us with a hoarding of Phata Poster Nikla Hero as the backdrop, a commuter rushes past, gets into a train and yells, “Kumar sahab hamare hero hain.” I smile at him, but H Kumar, is still in character, holding his pose and expression. It’s probably something he learnt in his three month-long acting workshop in 1984, in which veteran actor Pankaj Kapur would teach the class and at times bring along his then 4-year-old son Shahid, the lead actor in the film, the poster of which Kumar stands against.

“I’m no Dilip Kumar or Amitabh Bachchan. I didn’t ‘struggle’ in the conventional sense. I didn’t sleep on the roads or outside film studios; nor did I go hungry for days,” H Kumar tells me seconds after we enter his office, a rather lonely guard’s cabin at the end of the 8.33pm Churchgate-Borivli slow local.

He rises from his high chair and stands at the door when the train is about to arrive at Marine Lines station, takes a quick look at the platform and continues, “My father passed away when I was very young. He was only 50. I had four sisters and a brother to take care of, I couldn’t afford to simply struggle on the streets. I took up this job after my father in 1988. He was also in the railways. I would fend for my entire family.” That didn’t mean he had to give up his childhood dream of becoming an actor.

For the first five years of his job as a guard in his hometown Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh, Kumar would often visit Mumbai with his photographs to get a break in Bollywood. “I had already acted in a small budget film in 1986. It was called Daaku Bijlee and was made by a Hyderabadi pilot, who was interested in making films,” he says, signaling to the motorman in the front of the train to start moving away from Charni Road station.

Kumar would visit studios and producers for a role and they would always ask him to leave his photographs behind and promised to call if they had a role for him. No one, of course, ever called.

But that never worried him because he had a great job. He would travel in an air-conditioned coach to Mumbai, stay in a luxurious railway guesthouse in Mumbai Central and eat good food.

In 1993, he thought he was too far away from his dream and asked for a transfer to Mumbai.

“Mumbai mein do hi cheez chalti hain, ek local train, jo main chalata hoon aur ek kismat jo main aazmaane aa gaya (Only two things work in Mumbai; the local train and destiny, which I came to pursue).” Since then, he only managed to get small roles in a few unsuccessful Bollywood films and a couple of regional films, the most notable one being the role of an inspector in the 1998 Dharmendra starer Kalicharan, that didn’t do as well as the one Subhash Ghai directed in 1976.

Three decades and almost no success later, Kumar has neither given up on the industry nor is he a bitter man. “Why should I be bitter? The railway has given me a 1000 sq ft apartment in Bandra, I get free travel, my medical expenses are taken care off, my salary is Rs70,000 and I have 10 years of service still to go, I am not overworked, my children study in good schools and I’m soon going to make my own film,” he says, while walking across the compartment to look at the train arriving at Mumbai Central station.

Five years ago, Kumar registered his production house — Kumar Sippy Films and became a member of the India Motion Picture Producers’ Association. In November, he will start shooting for his first film as a director and producer Tu Hi Mera Pyaar, which he says is “loosely inspired” from the 1979 Mithun Chakraborty film Tarana that was made by Rajshri Productions. It’s a simple concept — a city boy from a well-to-do family falls in love with a good looking girl from the Banjara community that travel across the country and camps in tents. He hands me a CD and says, “This (the CD) has the songs of my film. Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik and Sadhana Sargam are the singers. The music directors are Ketan-Suman, they are new.” Who are the actors, I ask. “I am considering Jackky Bhagnani. Govinda’s nephew Vinay Anand, who has done well for himself in Bhojpuri films, is also a good option,” he says. “Ladka khoobsurat hai, accha dancer bhi hai, apne budget ke hisab se theek hai,” he adds.

The budget for the film is Rs1 crore, some of the money is his own, some his friends have invested and a lot of it has come from one Abhay Veer Solanki, who Kumar says, belongs to a royal family from Bharatpur, Rajasthan.

After the train leaves Lower Parel station, I ask him if the prospect of the film failing at the box office scares him and he quickly dismisses the possibility. “I know A to Z of this industry. There is no way I am going to incur a loss. I’ll easily convert the Rs1 crore we are investing into Rs2 crore from the distribution, audio, video, satellite and oversees rights,” he says with an unnerving
confidence.

As I stand at the door looking at my destination fast approaching, he asks me the only question of the night, “Don’t you ever want to become an actor?” No, I tell him, I always wanted to be a writer.

“Write for me someday,” he says, signaling the motorman to leave the platform and waving at me, once again lonely in his cabin inside a crowded train on a monsoon night.

Toronto Film Festival – ‘The Railway Man’ (2013) Movie Review

Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky and based on the autobiography of Eric Lomax, the man behind the nickname of the title character, The Railway Man is yet another traditionally told period piece, elevated due to a wonderfully effective story and strong lead performances from Colin Firth and Jeremy Irvine.

We’re first introduced to Lomax (Firth) as a middle-aged British Army veteran of World War II. He’s obviously a quiet man, but there are no visible physical or emotional scars, and for the time being his life is about to take a turn for the better. A chance meeting with a woman, Patti (Nicole Kidman), aboard a train results in love at first sight. The two eventually marry and find a house together, but the horrors of war can’t elude him forever.

It’s never quite clear if Eric told Patti about his time in the British Army, but she’s soon made well aware of the damage it has left on his psyche and it’s only getting worse as he mistakes a bill collector for the Japanese translator (Tanroh Ishida) that tortured him as a prisoner of war at a Japanese labor camp. Lomax attacks the bill collector with a box cutter.

The film explores Eric’s journey toward revenge, retribution and reconciliation while also telling his story as a young British officer. As a result, the first two thirds of the film are a little slow and predictable, but the third act brings everything together in effectively dramatic fashion.

As the layers of The Railway Man are peeled away there are only two inevitable conclusions and, at first, neither seem as if they will actually work. One would be too horrific and the other too melodramatic, but in actuality, the finale becomes the best part of the film, elegantly told and respectful of both the subject and not at all pandering to the audience.

Young Lomax is played by Jeremy Irvine (War Horse), a perfect choice physically as well as from a performance stand point. So much depends on both Firth and Irvine finding some measure of kinship so the film never loses momentum when it flashes backward and forward, and once Irvine eventually hands off to Firth for good there isn’t so much as a hiccup.

Kidman’s role along with Stellan Skarsgard‘s is rather small, but both characters serve as inspiration for Lomax and conduits into the telling of his story. Hiroyuki Sanada (The Last Samurai, The Wolverine) is also a strong performer for the short time he’s seen on screen, but to say much more would be to give away some of the film’s secrets, which are better left learned first hand.

Teplitzky’s directorial career is still quite young. He has some work under his belt, most notably 2011’s Burning Man, and he proves here he can handle a larger narrative, but this is still a story told without much risk. For lack of a better description, it’s safe and small.

Some stories deserve their time on screen and there’s nothing wrong with a well-told, directed and acted story that manages to move and enlighten us and I’m not sure The Railway Man could have been told any better. It obviously comes with years of World War II stories in front of it and serves as something of a true story cousin to 1957’s The Bridge on the River Kwai.

As one of the characters says in the film, “war leaves a mark”, and the mark the second World War left on the whole of humanity is one that will never wear away. What’s truly amazing are the number of stories that continue to come out of such a dark period in human history, many that can actually serve as uplifting just as this one does.

For Bollywood, Railways to assign a Special Station for Film Shooting

srk01The railways have trained their sights on a blockbuster venture: a dedicated railway station for films in a city where big-ticket dreams are spun on celluloid.

In news that will save directors and producers considerable location scouting, the Central Railway (CR) is planning to construct a dedicated station for shooting sequences featuring railway premises. The idea follows increasing demand for railway stations and trains to film scenes.

Atul Rane, chief public relations officer (CPRO), CR, said, “Though it is in its initial stages, the plan of allowing shooting in yards like Matunga workshop, Wadi Bunder or Kurla car shed, may be successful and also convenient for the crew.”

10dec_trains02These spots — that already have tracks and platform — can be equipped with discarded rakes and other props, depending on the set requirements, officials said.

“This will help production houses shoot for their films at one place,” said a CR official, adding that the railways have been raking in big money by renting out premises for shooting. “We are seeing a tremendous increase in earnings from shooting this year as compared to last year.”

In 2011-12, Central Railway earned Rs 61.52 lakh, which distended to Rs 1.07 crore in 2012-13. This year, CR’s revenues through shooting surpassed earlier records with the authorities raking in Rs 91 lakh in just three months.

Film Son Is Singh Shooting At R. Station Chandigarh Photo Sant Arora/HTChief PRO Rane added, “We have identified new locations for film shooting as people are looking for dormant locations.” The CR has also updated its list of locations where facilities of film shooting are available in Mumbai, Pune and Bhusawal divisions. Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla) in Mumbai division and Murtajapur in Bhusawal division are the new spots where CR has invited filmmakers for shooting.

If the authorities are to be believed, they have been receiving countless proposals from production houses for shooting in coaches or on station premises. “Looking at the demand, we have set up a one-window clearance for such proposals. Now, the permissions are given in just 2-3 days depending on the script’s requirements. This is one of the biggest reasons for increased revenues from film shooting,” added the CR official.

Until now, getting permissions for shooting at railway stations entailed a long procedure.

There are formalities that the production house has to complete before getting the railways’ permit: insurance which may be anywhere between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 5 crore, agreement, indemnity bond and original script.

“Without these documents, we don’t accept the submission. Though as per our new rule, the permission is supposed to be given within three days of application,” the official said. To aid the film crew, CR has also assigned a special team that accompanies the film staff to avoid any hassles from the RPF and the GRP.

sonaSince April this year, 10 films and advertisements have been shot on CR premises which include: movies like Once upon a time in Mumbai Again, Gori Tere Pyar Mein, Dedh Ishkiya, Gunday and ads like those for Airtel and IPL team Mumbai Indians. However, the highest revenue generator is Yashraj Films’ Gunday. The production house has paid Rs 59.63 lakh to the railways for shooting at Wakad station near Pune. Shootings have also taken place at CST, Wadi Bunder, Chunabhatti, Satara, Apta etc.

Rewari Steam Loco Shed become ground for Blockbuster Movies

As Milkha Singh’s biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag gets off to a good start, Northern Railway might have another hit to its credit. Railway officials say they were counting on its success beforehand. Almost all the films that have been shot at the Rewari steam locomotive shed – Gadar, Veer Zara and Rang De Basanti to name a few – have become runaway hits. The yard at Rewari is the only steam loco shed that remains in the country. A number of blockbusters have had it in the backdrop and used the Akbar (Shahanshah) loco engine, a WP model steam engine that served the Delhi-Kolkata main line.

A Northern Railway official says – “Gadar’s success was followed by a string of big-budget films staged in Rewari. Each one of them, including Guru and Love Aajkal, has met with success. Veer Zara was also received well.” Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was filmed between October 8 and 14 last year in Rewari. The adjoining railway colony served as an apt setting for Milkha’s childhood scenes.

The railways too have earned revenues from such ventures. Besides the publicity that comes along, a day’s use of a four-coach train and engine, especially a WP/P model engine, fetches Rs 4 lakh. “With coffers drying up, films give the boost needed to maintain the loco shed,” said another officer.

Northern Railway, which hoped to cash in on the hoopla surrounding the new films – Fukrey was also shot in the Delhi division – is disappointed that shooting of two big-ticket productions – Chennai Express starring Shah Rukh Khan and Peekay starring Aamir Khan – was cancelled at the last moment.

“We were hoping that the shooting planned by Peekay will mark a break from the period dramas set in Rewari and begin our dalliance with new-age Indian cinema. That is why we allowed Bullet Raja to be shot in Lucknow despite the inconvenience. But, the production managers of Peekay backed out after the initial enthusiasm,” said an official.

The railway is planning special packages for filmmakers who plan to use the services of the Shahanshah, which is considered a lucky mascot. A third WP-actually a WP/P, one of the original Baldwin prototypes- no. 7200 Shahanshah, which was at the Charbagh workshops in Lucknow, was restored for use in steam specials by the Northern Railway. It has also run several steam specials, including one between Royapuram and Tambaram on January 26, 2009, to commemorate the 153rd anniversary of Royapuram station, the oldest railway station in the country and even ran the Steam Express on January 14, 2012.

Film Shootings boost Central Railway revenues

The Central Railway’s revenue in the first quarter this year is nearly as much as its entire earnings of the last fiscal year. The steep rise in earnings can be attributed to the sudden spurt of film shootings in CR stations this year. This has resulted in the CR earning an unprecedented 91 lakh in just one quarter. In the last fiscal year, CR’s total earnings was Rs.1.07 crore and the same quarter last year saw earnings of just Rs.17 lakh.

Since April this year, 10 films and advertisements have been shot at different locations of CR including films like Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Again, Gori Tere Pyar Mein, Dedh Ishqiya and Gunday. Even a short film for IPL-6 for the Mumbai Indians team was shot there.

Gunday, a Yashraj production, paid Rs.9.63 lakh to CR for shooting at Wathar station near Pune this year. The other films and ads were shot at CST, Wadi bunder, Chunabhatti, Satara and Apta.
Railway authorities maintain that they first read the script and then only decide if a green signal is to be given for the shoot. “After reading the script if we find that the script or the movie will create a bad image of the railways, we reject it. We did not give the permissions to Ram Gopal Verma’s The Attacks of 26/11,” said A.K. Singh, PRO, CR.

“The trend is encouraging and we have identified a few more locations for film shootings at different places in our stations,” said chief PRO Atul Rane, adding, “We have opened a single window to give hassle-free clearance for the film shootings and this has yielded good response from production houses and filmmakers.”

Abandoned Rewari Rly shed is now a refugee camp setting for Milkha Singh biopic

bhaag-milkha10Given that Farhan Akhtar’s upcoming biopic is set in the mid-last century, a lot of elements used in the film were recreated to look the period.

However, the film’s unit chanced upon a very old railway station 100 kilometers outside Delhi that looked perfect as a setting for the film.

According to sources, the abandoned railway station and colony at Rewari became the site of one of the biggest partition camps Shardara for the film.

A unit hand says, `The production team wanted to re- create the town of Shardara. Since the original location now has a completely modern look, an alternate location was being searched.
bhaag-milkha11

Then they discovered the old and forgotten spot at Rewari, which looks absolutely untouched. It evoked an authentic look from the bygone era.` Portions of Milkha Singh’s growing up years at the Shardara refugee camp have been shot there.

Andhra Pradesh’s rail stations most sought-after for film shoots

HYDERABAD: Railways, they say is the lifeline of India and movie makers taking a cue from the line are making a beeline to Andhra Pradesh’s railway stations with a camera crew in tow.

The state which has some scenic railway stations, is witnessing an increased preference among production houses, preferring to shoot at the age-old stations these days.

Having witnessed an upward trend last year in the number of film shoots at railway stations and those featuring trains, South Central Railway (SCR) authorities are buoyed and are hoping that 2013 will see more trains chugging into Tollywood and also help them rake in more revenue.
Railway Station Movie On Location Photos Railway Station Shooting Spot images (5)

Till the late 1990s, films were regularly shot at rail stations, but once Ramoji film city came up, production houses flocked to the artificial settings. But with new-age film makers keen on realism, they are coming back to AP stations, much to the delight of the railways.

Authorities granted permission to 20 films in 2012 of which eight used a special train provided by the authorities exclusively for movies. The films earned the railways Rs.75.4 lakh as against Rs 64.8 lakh earned in 2011, when 15 films were permitted by SCR.

This month, shooting is already underway for two movies and the weekend saw Ravi Teja starrer Balupu being shot at Lingampalli railway station.

“Every movie has a train which viewers easily recognize. A set may not be able to offer genuine railway experience which film buffs can easily identify with. Besides film-makers from within the state, production houses from Chennai are also approaching us,” said chief public relations officer K Sambasiva Rao.

“Kacheguda for a city setting and Vikarabad for a rustic background are the preferred locations,” he said. The railway authorities were approached by Chennai-based production houses for six films last year. In April, Tamil movie Biryani was shot at the Kacheguda railway station, which is most sought-after, due to its heritage structure.

The industry concurs with these observations. Film director Teja, who in 2002 made the Telugu blockbuster Jayam, noted for its songs featuring trains, said the desire for authenticity pushes a film-maker to shoot at railway premises, despite procedural difficulties.

“Every individual connects with a train. Despite improvement in visual effects, the keen film-maker opts for a real railway station and train if authenticity is utmost desired,” he said, adding that nowadays getting permission for film shoots using trains has become a daunting process.

“For the train experience, we have no choice but to shoot at railway station. We can just show a standard coach on a set, but cannot show trains like MMTS,” said producer Suresh Babu, adding “We are likely to see a lot of stories involving Metro Rail once it is launched”.

A production house submits the portion of the script which involves trains or railways to officials who check to make sure that the scenes do not cause passenger inconvenience and do not portray railways in bad light.

For shooting on railway premises without the use of train, the authorities charge a license fee ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 lakh per day depending on the city or the location of the station.

If the script demands, a special five coach train is arranged at a cost of Rs 2.2 lakh a day. Above that, a refundable security deposit of Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7.5 lakh has to be furnished.

“Nowadays, we issue permissions within a week All hassles to procure permissions have been addressed which is drawing production houses from other states. Manpower is given where required to film units and one of our staff is always there during the shoot,” said CPRO Rao.

Quick nod for film shoots ups Railways’ revenue

Keeping in mind the increasing demands of film shootings at railway stations and inside the trains, both Central and Western Railway have opened a “single window” to provide hassle-free clearance for film shootings. Production houses and filmmakers are happy with this arrangement and it has resulted in increased revenue generation for the railways as well.

Central Railway has earned 72 per cent more revenue after it started granting permission for film shootings. The CR earned `61.53 lakh in the year 2011-12, while this figure went up to `105.76 lakh in the year 2012-13. In the course of this year, films like Shootout at Wadala, Ramaiya Vastavaiya, The Launch Box, Chennai Express, Gunday, Himmatwala, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai 2 have been shot in the CR premises.

Gundey paid CR `23.96 lakh, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai 2 paid `21.16 lakh. “Earlier it used to take 10 to 15 days, but we are now issuing permissions in three to five days and this move has been welcomed by filmmakers,” said Subodh Jain, GM, CR.

Western Railway also got a quantum leap in its revenue due to fast-track permissions for shootings. WR earned `86 lakh in 2011.

It has gone up to `1.48 crore in 2012. Kai Po Che, Bodyguard, Force, Aatma, Razzo, Once upon a time in Mumbai 2 and D-day were shot in different WR locations. Apart from films, there have been many ads, promotional events and documentary films. Sharat Chandrayan, chief PRO, WR said, “We ensure that we give permission within 3-5 days and we try to maintain a good rapport with production houses. It is a very good source of additional revenue.”