Rewari Steam Locomotive casts its Bollywood net wide

Resurrection of the Rewari Steam Locomotive Shed of the Northern Railways has turned the 120-year-old heritage structure into a hotspot for Indian filmmakers.

The loco shed is providing an ideal shooting location for a number of upcoming Bollywood flicks, including Shahrukh Khan starrer Chennai Express and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag with Farhan Akhtar and Sonam Kapoor in lead role.

Similarly, Munna Bhai and 3 Idiots fame Rajkumar Hirani has also sought permission for shooting his next film ‘P.K.’ starring Amir Khan and Anushka Sharma at Safdarjung railway station in the Capital in February-March next year.

Railway officials said Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was shot in the Rewari loco shed and the Farrukhnagar railway station in Rewari from October 8 to October 31. Some of the sequences picturising the childhood of Milkha Singh were shot in the railway colony in the neighbourhood of Rewari station. Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is based on the life of legendary athlete Milkha Singh, who spent his childhood residing along the railway tracks after he came to India hiding behind the corpses in a train after partition in 1947.

According to Northern Railway officials, Rewari loco shed, being the only surviving steam loco shed in India housing some of India’s last surviving steam locomotives, had become an ideal choice for filmmakers. Officials said that filmmaker Rohit Shetty had approached the Northern Railway seeking permission to shoot for his upcoming film Chennai Express in the Rewari loco shed. The shooting for the film is likely to begin in December.

“Having remained in neglect for decades, the heritage shed in Rewari is back to its glory now. Witnessing the Black Beauties at the loco shed is pure nostalgia of an era gone by. Some sequences of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag were shot in a four-coach train driven by the broad-gauge steam engine ‘Angadh’ which had just arrived at Rewari after an overhaul at Amritsar,” said a senior railway official. Made in 1930, Angadh is the oldest of all working steam engines in India. “The producers of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag had requested for a special train for two days which was provided to them immediately,” he added.

Officials said Hirani has sought permission for using the railway platform and a special train from March 11 to 14 next year at Safdarjung station, which is the originating point of luxurious Palace on Wheels. “Superstar Amir Khan will be shooting at Safdarjung Station on March 11 and 14. The two-day gap will be used for setting up the location,”they said.

“The steam loco shed in Rewari has become favourite tourist destination for steam lovers and history buffs. It also has much to offer to the present generation who have not witnessed the glorious steam era. With a rural background, the loco shed provides a perfect setting for picturising the past era in films,” said Northern Railway CPRO, Neeraj Sharma. Officials said this would generate revenue for the Northern Railway besides promoting the heritage shed through movies. Sources said it would earn nearly `4 lakh per day to the railways besides a security deposit of `2.5 lakh for a four-coach train and a steam engine for shooting purposes.

It may be noted that the Rewari Steam Loco Shed was re-opened on October 9, 2010 after several years of neglect. The locos at the shed have appeared in films such as Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, Guru, Love Aaj Kal and Gandhi among others.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/home/online-channel/360-todays-newspaper/105960-rewari-steam-locomotive-casts-its-bollywood-net-wide.html

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