Manmohan Desai as also J. Om Prakash would be mightily pleased with what BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN has indirectly achieved. Just rewind to the qawwali at the dargah of Aishmuqam - Bhar do jholi meri- which has been used as the location for the first time in a Hindi cinema or for that matter any form of visual medium. It has kindled interest of the tourists to add one more itinerary into their circuit.
The brand of tourism that is dominant in the country is the tourism which has an element of religiosity associated with it and once it becomes a part of the narrative in a cinema its popularity increases by leaps and bounds and this has happened with the case of this shrine in Kashmir as well after BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN. Kashmir tourism promotes a Sufi circuit, but it needed an endorsement from Salman Khan to ensure increased footfalls to this site henceforth.
As a matter of fact the contribution of Hindi cinema in propagating hitherto unknown sites has been phenomenal, it is altogether a different matter that in the bargain they have created some new gods as well, which otherwise did not find a reference in the religious texts- Santoshi Maa being a glaring example. Before Manmohan Desai had shot the famous qawwali - Tareef teri nikee hai dil se for his magnum opus AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY, the existence of Sai Baba shrine was hardly known to the faithful outside Maharashtra, but post AAA, it has become an abode that needs to be traversed by the faithful if they want to keep the faith. In the same manner the famous shrine of Vaishnav Devi temple located in Katra was a place that was mostly frequented by the believers from Punjab and the adjoining areas, but post J Om Prakash's AVATAAR, Vaishno Devi Shrine's stature acquired cult status and it has gained tremendous fan following from all the country and different corners around the world.
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What also adds to the glory and popularity is the songs that are filmed on the locations and they pan out in such a manner that the fans and the faithful add one more to their list of the gods and the places of reverence to visit and follow. Be it the BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN, or AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY, an AVATAR or for that matter the famous Rahman qawwali from FIZA invoking the virtues of Haji Ali, a famous shrine in Mumbai giving it a cult status, or for that matter the Nizamuddin Dargah that was given a place of eminence again through the baton and baritone voice of Rehman through the famous qawwali Kun aya kun from ROCKSTAR, Hindi cinema has been instrumental in promoting and facilitating acquisition of hitherto obscure or rather not very popular religious places a cult status on a pan India basis.
It is high time the folks who are practicing the art and craft of cinema start talking about this contributing aspect through the scores of oeuvres that they have been creating down the ages.
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