Deccan Chronicle

Kashmir diaries

Deccan Chronicle.| Sashidhar Adivi

Published on: May 23, 2022 | Updated on: May 23, 2022

Shooting Kushi is an unforgettable experience for Shiva Nirvana

 The unit of Kushi on location at Pahalgam

The unit of Kushi on location at Pahalgam

A 300-member crew recently wrapped up the first schedule of the Vijay Deverakonda-Samantha-starrer Kushi in Kashmir. Director Shiva Nirvana talks about the experience of shooting in the Valley.

Shiva explains that he shot the film in Kashmir not because of the picturesque locales but because it is a character in the film. "We wanted to capture the emotions of Vijay and Samantha’s love story. Also, there’s a Kashmir connection to the plot, hence we shot a major portion of their love story there," says the director.

Film crew fixing the camera at Dal Lake

The film, with strong characters, is about the conflict between a guy and a girl, and celebrates love and happiness. "A love story can’t be separated from human relationships. I believe a love story is complete only when it turns into a family. So, we explore the relationship of two intense characters," says Shiva.

The cinematographer and other members of the crew went on a 10-day recce before commencing shooting, as he was very particular about the lighting and the mood of each frame. The team researched the weather and the locations.

The unit managed to capture 20 different locations in Kashmir, including Sonamarg and Pahalgam. They were in areas which were almost ‘no network zones’ for the major part of the schedule. But the local people were so welcoming that his love for Kashmir has increased, says Shiva.

"In fact, I have cast many Kashmiris in the film in the interests of ethnic credibility," he reveals. 

In many films Kashmir is the backdrop of a terrorist story. But in Kushi the makers attempt to bring out the happy, romantic side of the State. While Srinagar is known for flowers, Sonamarg is known for its mountains and Pahalgam for its forests. The essence of these places has been captured in the film. "We went to the middle of the Dal Lake and shot there; it was an incredible experience," Shiva reveals.

Shiva Nirvana explaining the scene

While the whole country is reeling under rising mercury levels, the director says with a smile that they experienced the other extreme of weather in Kashmir.
"The team wore extra layers of clothes, and had a campfire. But it was still so cold that sometimes, only two scenes could be shot in a day," he says.

Shooting in the cold temperatures of Kashmir was challenging, shares Shiva. In fact, Kushi is one of the few films shot during nights in Kashmir. They almost froze many times. Shooting in the night was extremely difficult also because they did not have enough lighting. But Shiva credits the light-men for an amazing job, even carrying the heavy equipment on their shoulders on uneven mountain terrains. "We shot for 18hrs continuously on some days," says the filmmaker.

He is all praise for Vijay and Samantha too. "The confidence a director gets is unbelievable when his actors back him to the core. Even though we endured several difficulties, we feel ecstatic after seeing the rushes, it gives us a high," he says, signing off.

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