Darjeeling – Movies, Masti and Magic

by Mar 20, 2016Darjeeling, West Bengal5 comments

Darjeeling and Bollywood seem to be in perfect liaison while capturing romantic moments on celluloid. Time and again I have always regarded Darjeeling as one of the most romantic places of India.  The film industry also have a similar thought and they have used the stunning vistas of Darjeeling and Sikkim in beautiful ways. The tea gardens, tow trains and the Kanchenjunga ranges have all been a part of celluloid since long. Here is a list of movies shot in Darjeeling.

Films do help in boosting tourism of a place. And sometimes films make a place so popular that they have to deal with overtourism (something that 3 Idiots did to Ladakh)! Time and again, these movies shot in Darjeeling and Sikkim have raised interest about the place and brought tourists other than from West Bengal to these wonderland.

Movies shot in Darjeeling

The first thing I remember about Darjeeling and Bollywood is the famous song “Mere sapno ki rani” from Aradhana. Rajesh Khanna is behind the wheels singing for Sharmila Tagore who is travelling by the toy train. I think there are very few people who will not be humming this song while riding the Darjeeling toy train. Let us now take you through a nostalgic journey where Darjeeling and Bollywood had come together to deliver

  1. Barsat (1949)

This is one of the first movies to be shot in Darjeeling, way before we were even born! Raj Kapoor and Nargis starred in this movie and a major part of it were shot in Darjeeling. This movie had the iconic song “Pyar hua ikrar hua” which is still considered one of the epitomes of love and romance.

  1. Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai (1961)

Even before Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore immortalized the Darjeleing toy train with the beautiful song, Dev Anand and Asha Parekh shot a similar number in this movie. The movie was one of the biggest hits of the year and was one of the oldest movies to showcase the beauty of Darjeeling on screen.

  1. Professor (1962)

To be honest, we had not heard of this movie, but Professor by Director Lekh Tandon was one of the superhits of the year. Starring Shammi Kapoor and Kalpana, this movie was shot extensively in and around Darjeeling town. The song Main chali main chali was shot at Darjeeling Mall and Batasia Loop.

  1. Aye Din Bahaar Ke (1966)

This movie was the first one to showcase the beauty of Darjeeling tea gardens. The previous movies were shot in and around the town, but this Dharmendra and Asha Parekh starrer explored the beauty of the tea gardens of Darjeeling.

  1. Hamraaz (1967)

Neele Gagan ke Tale” was one of famous songs of this movie. Hamraaz had Sunil Dutta and Mumtaz in lead roles and was shot in Darjeeling.

  1. Jhuk Gaya Asmaan (1968)

Another movie directed by Lekh Tandon was shot in Darjeeling. It seems that the directors love the Queen of Hills. The movie had Rajendra Kumar and Saira Bano. Darjeeling, in fact, was one of the most sought after shooting destinations of Bollywood.

  1. Aradhana (1969)

This is the movie that brought Darjeeling toy train an icon for love and romance. An extensive part of the movie was shot in Darjeeling. The famous song “Mere Sapno ki Rani” was shot near Giddapahar region of Kurseong and Darjeeling. Who doesn’t remember the song where Rajesh Khanna was following the ever beautiful Sharmila Tagore in a car? She was of course on the Darjeeling toy train!

There were a few other Bollywood movies shot in Darjeeling in the 70s like Joshila, Sagina, Do Anjane, Anurodh and Lahu ke do Rang. Darjeeling continued to inspire Bollywood film makers with its picturesque locations.

  1. Barsaat Ki Ek Raat (1982) & Anusondhan

How can Amitabh Bachchan be immune to the charms of Darjeeling? He had shot two movies here – Do Anjane with Rekha and the superhit Barsat ki ek raat with Rakhee. Remember the song “Apne Pyar ke” from Barsat Ki Ek Raat? This film was also shot in Bengali as Anusondhan. Some of the scenes from this movie with Amitabh Bacchan and Rakhee Gulzar were shot around the villages in Darjeeling. It was a delight to watch the film.

  1. Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (1992)

After Barsaat ki ek raat, Bollywood almost stopped shooting in Darjeeling. The main reason was the Gorkhaland agitation. But Aziz Mirza returned to the Queen of Hills in the 90’s with Shah Rukh Khan (who was not yet the superstar) and Juhi Chawla. Shah Rukh Khan became a star overnight and Darjeeling too was brought back in the map of Bollywood. The song “Dil hai mera deewana” was shot in the roads of Darjeeling.

  1. Bada Din (1998)

Mere ankhon me tum ho” featuring the hunk Marc Robinson and beautiful Tara Deshpande was one of the hit songs of the year and was also one of my favourites. I think this song had captured the beauty of Darjeeling like never before. This movie was the directorial debut of Anjan Dutt whose love for Darjeeling is well known. He was himself a student of St Pauls’s School and Darjeeling is his favourite town.

  1. Mr and Mrs Iyer (2002)

Rahul Bose and Konkona Sen Sharma was the lead actors in this critically acclaimed film by Aparna Sen. A part of the movie was shot in Darjeeling as well as in the Dooars region of North Bengal.

  1. Main Hoon Na (2004)

And finally, the Badshah of Bollywood arrives at Darjeeling again with his charm in Darjeeling. And he arrives in style emerging from the smoke of the steam engines at Darjeeling Railway Station. I know many of us have tried taking that shot. At least I have! Main Hoon Na starring Shah Rukh Khan and Sushmita Sen was shot in Darjeeling and the college that was shown in the movie is actually St. Pauls School. Of course, the movie was a hit. The song Chale Jaise Hawayein was shot in the sprawling campus of St. Pauls School. The song has no cuts in the first 2.42 minutes!

  1. Parineeta (2005)

Years after Sharmila Tagore enjoyed the song of Rajesh Khanna from the toy train, her son Saif Ali Khan relieved the journey in the UNESCO world heritage Darjeeling Himalayan railways for the film Parineeta while playing to the tunes of “Kastomaza le”. With Vidya Balan looking like the quintessential Bengali bride, the song captured the moment of longing to perfection. However, no other parts of the film was shot at Darjeeling, but the single song captured all the emotions of the actors and beauty of Darjeeling well.

  1. Via Darjeeling (2008)

This is one of the lesser known movies of the 2000. However, the movie captures the beauty of Darjeeling in the purest form.

  1. Barfi (2012)

Barfi featuring Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Illena D’Cruz recreated magic in Darjeeling. Be it Keventer’s or the alleys or the iconic St. Pauls School, the toy trains, the movie of Anurag Basu showcased the place in an outstanding way. Remember, Ranbir trying to woo Illena at Keventers or at the streets of Darjeeling? Whenever I visit Darjeeling, I seem to connect the places with the scenes! Chowrasta, Birch Hill Road, Mayanpuri, Ghoom Station, Happy Valley tea garden Capitol Clock Tower and the Capital Hall appeared time and again in Barfi. This is one of the movie that showcased Darjeeling in an entirely different light.

Kurseong’s Dow Hill School also makes appearance in the movie. Remember the place where Ranbir came to look out for Priyanka and she was calling him back?

  1. Kahaani 2 (2016)

The movie was not shot in Darjeeling, but in Kalimpong. It comes in the list because Kahani 2 by Sujoy Ghosh starring Vidya Balan captures the beauty of Kalimpong in the most beautiful manner. The lanes, the fog and mystery of Kalimpong has been shown very well on celluloid proving Kalimpong too, can be a great movie location.

  1. Jagga Jasoos (2016)

While the movie was shot in various exotic locations like Morocco, Cape Town and Mumbai, a small part of the soulful song “Phir Wahi” was shot at St. Paul’s School Darjeeling.

Some other movies shot in Darjeeling

  1. Kanchenjungha (1962)

Master of craft Satyajit ray captured the beauty of Darjeeling beautifully in the Bengali movie Kanchenjungha. The film is about an upper class Bengali family on vacation in Darjeeling. Kanchenjungha was Ray’s first original screenplay and was also the first film he shot in colour. The ever dependable Chhabi Biswas starred in the movie.

  1. The Way Back (2010)

The Way Back is a Hollywood movie inspired by The Long Walk (1956), the memoir by former Polish prisoner of war Sławomir Rawicz, who claimed to have escaped from a Soviet Gulag and walked 4,000 miles (6,400 km) to freedom in World War II.

The film talks about the life of a young Polish army officer Janusz Wieszczek, played by Jim Sturgess who is held as a POW at Siberia. He along with a few other prisoners escapes from Gulag, the prison in Siberia and they walk all the way to Lake Baikal (Russia). They walk through the Mongolian Desert, Great Wall of China, Tibet and finally arrive in Darjeeling. The last portion of the movie when the protagonist reaches Darjeeling was shot in Darjeeling. Infact, in the entire movie, this was the only real location of the movie. The other locations were not shot at the original places.

  1. Highway (2014)

The movie starred Koel Mallik and Parambrata Chatterjee and part of the movie was shot on the way to Darjeeling and the town.

  1. Sudhu Tomari Jonyo (2015)

This is another Bengali movie to be shot in Darjeeling and Batasia Loop. It starred Srabanti, Soham, Dev and Mimi.

Sikkim is also another spectacular film location. Though not as famous as Darjeeling in terms of film shooting, a few films have been shot here. A few scenes of Barfi were shot at Gangtok. The recent college flick Yaariyan (2014) was shot extensively in Lachen, Chhangu Lake and Ban Jhakri in Sikkim. The film showcased Sikkim in a very beautiful way.

Very recently superstar Rajnikant had shot a part of a Telegu film in Darjeeling. Once released, we will update it here.

Darjeeling with its pleasant and scenic beauty has always attracted filmmakers. The toy train is always synonymous with romanticism, while the St. Pauls School with its picturesque settings has attracted many filmmakers time and again. Hope this post reminded you about your trip to Darjeeling, or may be, about those wonderful movies you watched. We might have missed a few, let us know about any other films. We will be happy to update the list.

Wrapping up…

Darjeeling was once a favourite destination for the film makers in Bollywood. Of late the town has not been featured much in the movies. The reason can be that the makers prefer foreign locales these days. Nevertheless, Darjeeling remains a beautiful destination and location for film shooting. Not only Darjeeling, the nearby towns like Kalimpong, Lava, Bijanbari as well as Sikkimalso can offer picturesque locales for film shooting!

Do you want to visit these shooting locations in Darjeeling? Want to take the trail of Barfi? Let us know. We would love to help you!
Agni & Amrita

Agni & Amrita

Travel Experts

We are Agni and Amrita, the story-telling team behind Tale of 2 Backpackers and partners in crime in travel and (mis)adventures of life. We have been travelling together for more than a decade looking for immersive experiences while enjoying the little beauties of life. We are intrigued by heritage, culture, festivals and people and that is reflected in our travel. And yes, we love the Himalayas too.

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  1. you missed some names joshila, gambler,mera naam joker,guide

    • I think so.. Will include them in the next update. Thanks for the info!

  2. Oh looks to be a great place to hang out. Your video and images make it even more interesting. ty for haring.

  3. I guess you have covered almost all the movies which were shot here.
    Nice read taking me through my travel and Bollywood memory lane 🙂

  4. Oh..love Darjeeling and totally enjoyed this post. All the songs are melodious and exude the charm of the “Queen of Hills” … 🙂


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