The charm held by small towns on Bollywood has been long and lasting. It began with Varanasi and Lucknow, but Kanpur has emerged the clear winner in the past few years. The city has slowly transformed, in the eyes of producers and directors, from the industrial hub of the state to a location that represents authentic India. Kanpur is historic. Kanpur is culture. Kanpur is local colour. To capture this heritage film-makers are choosing to shoot their movies right at the heart of the city.
Today we see our town from a new perspective. We see it from behind the camera lens of a few talkies filmed in the metropolis.
Bunty Aur Babli –
Back in 2004, Yash Raj Films took the bold step to shoot Bunty aur Babli in Kanpur. Remember that scene when Rani Mukherjee is too late to make it to the Miss India competition? That was filmed right in our backyards at HBTI. If you are like us and have lousy recall, then think of the scene when both Rani and Abhishek Bachchan reach Kanpur. That was taped at the city's Railway Station. Don't believe us? Go Google "Bunty and Babli reach Kanpur"; you'll recognise the background in the images.
Tanu Weds Manu and Tanu Weds Manu Returns –
Let's skip a few years and jump to this decade. Tanu Weds Manu, the blockbuster that had us in stitches, was set in real locations in Kanpur. The movie genuinely brought out the humour and simplicity our town has to offer. No doubt both R. Madhavan and Kangana Ranaut's characters were so believable. They stayed true to the roots of Kanpur.
Mainstream films have their place, but movies that are aired at festivals like Berlin International Film Festival are a class apart. Kanpur has taken centre-stage to even such pictures. Enter Katiyabaaz. The documentary was released about four years back and is based on an issue every nook and corner of the city is familiar with – long power cuts. Critically acclaimed, the movie unfolds Kanpur beautifully, even its minuscule gullies that we rather avoid any day.
Hotel Milan –
A flick that records almost every known location of Kanpur from Ganga Barrage to Swaroop Nagar to Phool Bagh is Hotel Milan. The comedy picture, directed by our own Kanpurite Vishal Mishra, is based on the anti-Romeo squad set-up by the current CM of the state. If you want to snatch a glimpse of Moti Jheel, check out the controversial movie.
The Zoya Factor –
The love affair of Kanpur and Bollywood stands strong with a rosy picture of the future. Sonam Kapoor and south' sensation Dulquer Salmaan (you must have spotted him in Irrfan Khan's Karwaan) will soon be filming The Zoya Factor in the city. If you hang around Green Park Stadium for the next month or so, you might catch a flash of the stars or two!
Ayushmann Khurana, Yami Gautam and Bhumi Pednekar alongwith director Amar Kaushik shoot their first in Kanpur, for an upcoming comedy film 'Bala'. Amongst the various locations the prime ones are our very famous 'Birhana Road' and 'Methodist High School'. In the film, Ayushmann will play the role of a man who balds pre-maturely and Bhumi will play the role of a dusky small-town girl at odds with a society that is obsessed with fair skin.