Almost a week after locals of Sonmarg raised a hue and cry over Manmarziyan being shot in the prohibited area of Thajiwas glacier, the film’s team has been served a notice by the Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Board. The makers of the Abhishek Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu starrer have been asked to explain how they shot in the area, considering the Sonmarg Development Authority had banned vehicle movement there following an order by the J&K High Court.
A source says, “The Tourism Board has requested them to revert within a week on how they procured the permission to shoot in the stretch, which is an ecologically sensitive zone.”
A PIL has been raised in the matter by local environmentalist Faiz Bakshi, who alleges that rules have been flouted for the April 18 shoot with Abhishek Bachchan. “[The area] is a gated property. So obviously, someone higher up allowed that entry,” he says, adding that the hearing is scheduled for May 9. Bakshi adds, “This is a lapse on the part of the local administration. There are five departments required [in granting permission] — the District Magistrate, Department of Tourism, Sonmarg Development Authority, Department of Wildlife Protection in Kashmir, and the cops. I won’t say the filmmaker is not to be blamed, but the unit couldn’t have done it by themselves.”
The spokesperson of Colour Yellow Productions, the producer of the film, said, “Proper permissions were in place from both, the Department of Tourism and Department of Wildlife Protection in Kashmir. We were sensitive about shooting there, and followed all the terms and conditions put forward to be allowed to shoot there.” Till the time of going to press, mid-day was awaiting a response from the Department of Tourism.