Time to put Gulmarg on the world map as a ski hub: filmmaker Vikash Verma
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to photograph outdoors when temperatures drop below minus 30 degrees? Filmmaker Vikash Verma, who is preparing for the release of the first-ever Indo-Polish production “No Means No”, unexpectedly found himself stranded by extreme weather conditions while filming the action-adventure film at large. budget in Poland. “While there was the constant fear of an avalanche as we circled in the Tatra Mountains, at first everything was going well for us. But suddenly the weather started to play its tricks. Up to a point, we could use special chemicals designed to keep shoes and clothing warm. But before we could anticipate it, the camera and battery stopped working as the mercury continued to drop more and more, preventing us from continuing filming. We had no choice but to postpone filming until next year, ”Verma recalls.
“No Means No” revolves around an Indian (played by novice actor Dhruv Verma) who visits Poland to participate in a ski championship and ends up falling in love with a Polish woman. The film’s international cast includes Gulshan Grover, Sylwia Czech, Natalia Bak, Sharad Kapoor, Nazia Hassan, Deep Raj Rana, Kat Kristian, Anna Guzik, Pawel Czech, Anna Ador and Jersey Handzlik. “While the legendary Hariharan is the film’s musical director, the background music was provided by Akshay Hariharan. The film also includes a song sung by Shreya Ghoshal. The film’s choreography department is headed by award-winning Indian Shiamak Davar and Polish Michal Stasica. One of the central themes of the film is the empowerment of women, ”reveals Verma.
Located in the town of Bielsko Biala in Poland, close to the world famous ski slopes of the Beskid and Tatras mountains, “No Means No” features several intense skiing scenes. “As a national table tennis player, I have always had a special place for sport in my heart. Since No Means No is an Indo-Polish collaboration that takes place during Polish winters, it was really obvious that skiing should be history as it is the favorite sport of Poles during the winter months ”, explains Verma. And, luckily for Verma, writer Hitesh Desai rose to the challenge. “Hitesh’s storyline beautifully captures the thrill and excitement of skiing as a sport and the same translated well on screen in the way the adrenaline-pumping footage is shot on camera. This is truly the first time Indian audiences will be able to witness such breathtaking ski action sequences, ”says Verma, who also intends to release the film in China ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Verma also hopes her film will stimulate ski culture in India. “Gulmarg offers one of the best ski slopes in the world. As a sports fan, I was fascinated by the idea of skiing in the Himalayas, but for several decades Kashmir has been under the shadow of terrorism. But that is all changing for the better now, so I think the time has come to put Gulmarg on the world map as a major ski hub, ”Verma said. “Right now, what we are missing is the infra. Imagine that we have a place like Gulmarg in the country and yet Indian ski enthusiasts have to go abroad to enjoy the sport. In addition, locally, sport is hardly exhibited. ‘No Mean No’ is just the starting point to create the ski buzz in the country. I also have a detailed plan ready with me on how we can develop Gulmarg into a global ski hub with state of the art facilities ”, adds Verma while recalling that PM Modi had inaugurated the second edition of the Khelo India Winter Games. earlier this year in Gulmarg. .
According to Verma, this will also boost tourism and boost ties between India and Poland. “The film ‘No Means No’ will introduce Poland to Indian audiences. The cinematography of the film, which beautifully captures the snow-capped mountains and picturesque views, offers an unprecedented glimpse into life in Poland. They call Bielsko Biala after Little Vienna. It is a beautiful city located in the south of Poland which has remained largely out of public attention for much of the last century, ”reveals Verma, who shot the film simultaneously in three languages, to know. English, Hindi and Polish through which he hopes to further strengthen the socio-cultural, religious and bilateral ties between India and Poland.
The grill-shooting schedule greatly stretched by the weather uncertainties followed by the global pandemic has tested Verma’s patience on all fronts, but he remains unfazed. He is now anxiously awaiting the film’s scheduled release for November 2021. “Although ‘No Means’ No turned out to be a huge project, both in terms of budget and scope, it was originally intended to be a rehearsal dress. of my next project, ‘The Great Maharaja’ —a true story based on the events of WWII, which will feature Sanjay Dutt in the lead role, “reveals Verma. The film is about Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji Jadeja, the Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagar, who in pre-independence India provided shelter and education to a thousand Polish children evacuated from the USSR as they fled German bombing raids during World War II. ” For the project, I plan to call on Roman Polanski to ask for his support and advice in making ‘The Pianist’ which is about the horrors of the Holocaust. I believe his contributions will be invaluable in shaping the history of my film, ”adds Verma who is grateful to the Polish people for their love and support.