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Gurugram ignites filmmakers’ imagination

September 24, 2018 05:32 AM


Kankana Roy Jain ■
Gurugram ignites filmmakers’ imagination
City emerges as a new hub of movies due to varied landscape, demography
From page 01 GURUGRAM: With towers of glass and steel kissing the sky at one end, submerged underpasses at the other, the affluent and wealthy living in their mansions and condominiums, daily wagers living for months on end without a roof over their heads or much money in their pockets, Gurugram is a city of deep contrasts. The last decade has seen a marked rise in filmmakers’ interest in the Millennium City, both as a backdrop as well as a subject.

■ Gurugram has turned into a preferred destination for movies on youth. ■ Jimmy Shergill (right) with co­actor Rohit Roy during a film shoot in Palam Vihar area of Gurugram in May 2006.
Many creative minds have gone on to build stories that revolve around the megapolis and its residents, made it star in titular roles and in other instances, used it as the perfect backdrop for a noir thriller or a movie about ambitious youth.

‘Gurgaon’, Shankar Raman’s 2017 dark noir thriller, named after the city, is a story of toxic masculinity, alcoholism, murky motives and bloodbathed disintegration of a Gurugram-based real estate tycoon. Films such as Arjun Kapoor starrer ‘Aurangazeb’ and Vishal Bharadwaj’s ‘Matru ki Bijli ka Mandola’ also emphasise similar features and assert the character of Gurugram and the overarching Haryana milieu as being synonymous with patriarchy, rage, restlessness of the nouveau rich, feudalism, urban-rural divide and a vicious circle of wealth and desire. Haryana boy Randeep Hooda’s 2016 crime drama ‘Laal Rang’ too evokes and internalises the same conflicts and a lack of moral compass.

As filmmaker Raman puts it, “I have lived in Gurugram and seen it change and grow before me. Gurugram evokes multiple emotions, with fear, aggression and anxiety underlying most of them, which is why just the name of my movie says so much without saying anything.”

Raman is of the opinion that filmmakers don’t deliberately try to portray Gurugram as the underbelly of crime in their movies, but it is a matter of fact that constant undertones of violence, fear (experienced especially by women) and power struggle loom large in the city. “I have no stereotypes or a prefixed notion of this city. What translated onto the screen was a reality lived and experienced here,” said Raman.

Another movie based on the Gurugram experience is Navdeep Singh’s NH-10, starring Anushka Sharma. The premise of the movie is the transformation of the lives of a working couple who witness an honour killing on the highway. The movie puts into the spotlight the deep-rooted misogyny woven into the fabric of the state and how women themselves are, sometimes, torchbearers and upholders of patriarchy.

Gurugram may be the heart of modernity in Haryana, but the recent spate of movies give the audiences a glimpse of an earthy, almost dystopian facet of the city.

Saibal Chatterjee, a national awardwinning film critic, says, “Bihar as the hotbed of power, politics, class struggle and corruption has been overused and overexposed in films. The Mumbai gang stories have been done to death. Gurugram is always in news for crime, but Gurugram and its dichotomy is still a captivating subject and not yet cliched.”

Chatterjee says that Gurugram is the ideal location for portraying a power struggle, a socio-political or economic conflict of the present times.

Nupur Asthana is another filmmaker who shot a large chunk of her film ‘Bewakoofiyaan’ in Gurugram. She says, “In my movie, Ayushman and Sonam played suave white collar individuals in high-flying jobs. I needed their offices to look plush and sleek, something that only Gurugram’s swanky chrome and steel buildings could offer in 2013.”

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