The car is racing towards the airport on a cold morning as Lucknow is enveloped in dense fog. The hot poori bhaaji enthused with choicest desi ingredients left a lasting taste to kick start a beautiful morning. Uttar Pradesh has witnessed a spiralling rise in hosting the shooting of Hindi movies in the last few years. Ashwini Iyer’s Bareily Ki Barfi wrapped up in Lucknow a few days back and now Ajay Pannalal’s Behen Hogi Teri is being shot in UP’s capital. Another film Baaraat Company directed by Afzaal Ahmad is also being shot on the outskirts of Lucknow right now.
When we reached the sets of Behen Hogi Teri (starring Raj Kummar Rao, Shruti Haasan, Gulshan Grover, Herry Tangri and Gautam Gulati) yesterday afternoon, the debutante director Ajay Pannalal met us with a lot of warmth. During the course of the day I saw him excitedly canning a scene where Raj Kummar Rao, a Lucknow ka launda played mohalla cricket on a desi cricket field with sparse grass and dust floating around. Herry Tangri, who earned accolades for playing Yuvraj Singh in the recent blockbuster M S Dhoni, An Untold Story, was also part of the scene.
National Award winning actor Raj Kummar Rao is having a ball since he is part of some really interesting projects right now. Bareilly Ki Barfi, Behen Hogi Teri, Newton, Five Weddings and essaying the title role of Subhash Chandra Bose in Ekta Kapoor‘s digital initiative, Raj is on the roll. I asked him if he would like to direct at some stage of his career, he said yes, direction is something he would be keen on but now. Raj insisted that we must try out kebabs in the city of Nawabs. Galauti Kebabs were savoured on the rooftop of an aalishaan Haveli on a cold December night. It was truly blissful.
Shruti Haasan was wearing a delightfully simple but exquisitely artistic Lucknowi shalvaar kameez when I met her at the magnificent Taj Vivaanta hotel. She’s enjoying shooting for Behen Hogi Teri in the heartland of India. She’s of the opinion that Indians are increasingly relating more with stories of simple relations based in the interiors of the country. It was a pleasant sight to watch Shruti enacting a Mehndi scene in a wedding household in a typical Lucknow mohalla surrounded by traditionally attired women late in the night.
Amul Mohan is one of the producers of Behen Hogi Teri apart from Tony Desouza and Nitin Upadhyay. I’ve known Amul for several years now since he’s part of the journalistic fraternity. This is his debut production that rolled on December 1, the 32nd marriage anniversary of his parents. His dad Mr Vikas Mohan, a well-known Trade analyst and film producer, passed away this year and he requested his mom to give a Muhurat clap on his parents’ marriage anniversary to celebrate their everlasting togetherness. Amul understands the film business and he said that the Budget of his debut production is being strictly kept under a check. He also said that the concept of the film and the way it is being mounted has all the ingredients to ensure that the film becomes a success on its release.
I am at the airport now. The nagging fog has gripped the runway. I wish the flight will get cancelled and I could feast on the many delicacies that people have been messaging me about. It is easy to fall in love with the culinary class of Lucknow. Even if my wish doesn’t come true today, I hope I shall be back in Lucknow soon. There’s so much that’s left to be eaten. And yes, seen!