Year of release: 2002
Director: Aparna Sen
Actors: Konkana Sen Sharma, Rahul Bose
Internationally appreciated movie Mr. & Mrs. Iyer takes you far away from Bollywood romantic or tragedy sagas. It takes you closer to the reality. Meenakshi (Konkana Sensharma) belongs to an orthodox Hindu Tamil family. She is travelling with her son Santhanam from a hill station. As she is travelling alone, her father asks Raja Chaudhary (Rahul Bose) to help her if she is in need. Raja reluctantly agrees. They embark on a bus journey which goes through a thick jungle. Soon they realise that they are trapped in a Hindu-Muslim riot situation which lead to impose a curfew in the area. Raja is a Muslim but Meenakshi saves him from a group of Hindu extremists by saying that they are husband-wife. The whole journey they pretend to be a couple which they are not. The personal conflict, the social anarchy, attraction makes the movie serious. But one can’t miss the scenic beauty shown in the film. The director does not disclose the name of the location in the film. The movie was shot at various locations in Himalayan foothills.
The movie inspires us to travel to the core Himalayan forest which is blessed with scenic beauty and wildlife.
Bhutanghat is famous for its scenic beauty. It’s a famous tourist spot for locals. The mystic hills are covered with thick forest, blessed by the river Raidak. It’s just 45km from Alipurduar in West Bengal. There is also a forest bungalow in the hills which was built in 1904 by the Britishers.
The scenes where the tension in the movie starts were shot here. The scenes where bus stops duty heavy traffic and later is attacked by Hindu extremists who eventually lead to a killing of Muslim passenger were shot here. We all remember the tragic shot where Raja finds the teeth of the old Muslim traveler on the banks of the river. That specific river is Raidak.
The scenic Gorumura national park is overloaded with natural beauty. The park is famous for its natural population of the Great Indian One-horned Rhinoceros. The park has various watch towers: Yatraprasad Watch tower (named in memory of a legendary elephant of that name), Rhino observation point in front of the Gorumara forest bungalow, Old Khunia Watch Tower near the Murti forest bungalow and Suksukia Bird watching Point. The dense forest flourished on the banks of the rivers Murti and Raidak are is full of Sal trees.
The abandoned bungalow where Meenakshi and Raja are safe kept by police is the real forest bungalow from the park. To give the haunted and old look to the bungalow, the crew of the movie covered it with cobwebs and mud.
Dooars is derived from a Bengali word ‘Duar’ which means Door. The hilly area is actually considered as a gateway to the Eastern Himalayas. Many parts of the forest are still untouched due to lower tourist interference. Most of the area is preserved with the tag of ‘core area’ as one has to get special permission to enter in those routes. The forest is crowling with various natural wild species like elephants, bisons, rhinos, leopards, sambhars, deers of various types and countless varieties of birds and butterflies. The forest covers a huge area of Jalpaiguri district in West Begal. The forest is blessed by the water of two rivers: Teesta and Sankosh.
The forest region shown in the film was shot extensively in this forest. One can identify the scene where Raja is clicking Santhanam and Meenakshi in early morning sunshine.