Actor-turned-producer, Krushna Abhishek is known for his terrific performances on stage as a comedian and also for some of the popular B-town films. Abhishek is currently shooting OMG! Yeh Mera India Season 9 in Kashmir. In a freewheeling interview with Greater Kashmir Senior Editor, Nazir Ganaie the actor shares his views, plans, and love for picturesque Kashmir.
Greater Kashmir: What are you currently shooting in Kashmir for?
Krushna Abhishek: Well, I am so happy to shoot in Kashmir. I have been hosting this popular show ‘OMG! Yeh Mera India’. Currently, I am shooting for Season 9. This show is all about discovering the most incredible and inspiring OMG stories of India and its people. Kashmir has many such stories and we are here to explore them.
Greater Kashmir: Is Kashmir enchanting you?
Krushna Abhishek: When I landed in Kashmir, I was like wow. How can I not visit this place? I don’t understand why we are even choosing Switzerland or European countries for shooting any films. Kashmir offers a wide array of opportunities for filmmakers. This heavenly landscape endowed with mountains and hills, gardens and orchards, lakes and rivers, Chinars and flowers makes the place so beautiful that you want to stay here forever. This is my first trip to Srinagar and has been nothing but spectacular. This indeed is a heaven on earth! I can’t wait to get all the exciting stories to you.
Greater Kashmir: Many Bollywood classics have been shot in Kashmir. How do you feel about it after coming to the Valley now?
Krushna Abhishek: There is no doubt that Kashmir is the ‘heaven on earth’. As a producer, I have travelled all over the world and have never seen anything like this. A day before, I was talking to my family and I told them there was no need to visit Europe or any other place as there is no place like Kashmir anywhere in the world. I have met a lot of people here, and their hospitality can’t be expressed in words. I feel Kashmir connects with you emotionally.
Greater Kashmir: Before coming to Kashmir, what were your views about this place?
Krushna Abhishek: Kashmir doesn’t need promotions. It is such a stunningly beautiful place that it finds its storytellers. However, Kashmir is a place where any film professional will be amazed. It is a filmmaker’s paradise. After coming here, I was touched by the people’s participation and hospitality.
Greater Kashmir: Any memories you made?
Krushna Abhishek: Before coming to Kashmir, I was deeply concerned about the situation, how people are going to welcome and how we are going to be treated during our shoot. All my inhibitions have been proven wrong. I was overwhelmed after I was received at the Srinagar airport. The locals are so overwhelmingly warm that each one of them shared their stories and also reminded me of my memorable acts and shows. The way Kashmir has treated me, I will never forget it in my entire life.
Greater Kashmir: How would you promote such stories now?
Krushna Abhishek: You know people abroad see OMG a lot. If people in Hollywood want to know something about places in India, this show OMG has become a guidebook for them. We will make sure that stories from Kashmir get good prominence and that the region gets promoted further. You have many stories around here. We have shot one innovator, who recently came up with the concept of the solar car. Similarly, we are also doing a story on a Samosa seller, who is making the biggest samosa, and then there are many stories that you are going to find out in our Kashmir show.
Greater Kashmir: During your stay, you must have come across a lot of stories that have the merit to be films as well. How do you see it?
Krushna Abhishek: Kashmir as I said has an abundance of stories. People are extremely warm and helpful. After arriving in Kashmir, I have seen a lot of connections and stories around me. I would love to shoot a full movie here. Presently, we are just roaming in tourist places and are yet to see Kashmir as Kashmir is beyond these tourist places. The other places will be more beautiful. I would want to tour Kashmir not just as a tourist but as an insider. I want to visit the downtown areas, the older parts of Srinagar.
Greater Kashmir: In recent times, movies shot here mostly depict politically-driven stories. How do you see it?
Krushna Abhishek: Those who are shooting the movies here should explore other facets of Kashmir. They can also make pleasant movies like Shami Kapoor has spent more time in Kashmir, and his songs have never had a political tone. A good romantic movie can be made here. I wonder why we go to Switzerland when we have a Kashmir-like place here.
Greater Kashmir: Jammu and Kashmir recently announced Film Policy with a 25 percent subsidy to the makers or the production houses. Do you think it helps in promoting film culture?
Krushna Abhishek: The subsidy is a great thing. This is applicable in Bihar, UP, and other states. This is a great thing to promote film culture. Very few states are providing subsidies for shooting films. There can’t be a better place than Kashmir anywhere in the world. The new film policy is fantastic, and I believe this will be a game-changer.