The infamous demarcation between Pakistan and India, better known as the Wagah Border, is a well-known spot. Residents of both the countries visit the site daily to witness the guards on both sides of the borders perform their stunts. And the spot is now being recreated a few kilometers away from Ballowal village in Ludhiana, Punjab for Salman Khan’s upcoming film Bharat.
One might wonder why Wagah Border has been recreated in Ludhiana when the original location too is in Punjab. However, it has been revealed that this is because firstly the script demanded for it and secondly because shooting is not allowed on the border.
A member of the crew told The Indian Express that due to the script’s demand, a set of Wagah Border has been erected in Ludhiana where shooting is expected to take place till November 18. Since it is not allowed by the Border Security Force (BSF) to shoot at Wagah Border due to security reasons, it was decided to setup a replica at Ballowal in Ludhiana.
Morever, there were certain scenes in which actors had to cross the border and move to Pakistan side which would not have been allowed either – by BSF on Indian side or the Pakistan Rangers on the other.
“There were certain scenes in which actors have to cross border and reach Pakistan. It was not possible to shoot them at the original location. Also, it wasn’t practical to shoot at Wagah Border in Amritsar as it is normally not allowed by BSF due to security reasons,” said the source.
The sarpanch of the Ballowal village Gurmukh Singh on this said, “The production team approached us almost a month back and asked if they could shoot here. I spoke to farmers whose fields they wanted to use and agreement was reached. Then the set of Wagah Border was prepared in around 20 days. Since it was difficult to get permission to shoot at actual location in Amritsar, they chose our village. Farmers have been given compensation by production house. The shooting here is likely to go on till November 18.”
He further shared that the cast and crew are not staying in their village but are instead staying at a high-end hotel in Ludhiana.
A senior official from Border Security Force (BSF), on the condition of anonymity also confirmed the news saying, “Under normal circumstances, it is not at all allowed to shoot at Wagah Border. It is a sensitive area and certain security issues are there. We did not receive any request asking for permission to shoot this film at Wagah Border. It is difficult to say if they would have been allowed or not by higher ups. No one can cross border and reach Pakistan side under normal circumstances.”
People dressed in uniforms of BSF and Pakistan Rangers wear seen near the sets. However, due to tight security arrangements, entry of common visitors, who come catch a glimpse of Salman and Katrina, is restricted till November 18. Only village residents and film crew members are allowed to enter the village.
Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, Bharat is expected to release in 2019. The film has been shot in various locations around the world including Malta and Abu Dhabi.