Sunday, April 12, 2009


Genre: Entertainment

What is common between the following scenes from popular Hindi flicks-

* Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaaenge- Shahrukh Khan and Anupam Kher are returning home in a train. Amrish Puri holds back Kajol from boarding but finally relents and Shahrukh pulls Kajol into the running train.

* Kuch Kuch Hota Hai- Kajol boards a train but Shahrukh Khan pleads her not to go. However, she sticks to her decision and Shahrukh ends up just getting her red 'dupatta'.

* Khakee- Akshay Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan bash up a bunch of bad guys (and end up getting beaten themselves too) onboard a running train as it slowly pulls out of a village station.

* Guru- Abhishek Bachchan gets ready to board a train to Bombay from his village railway station and at the last minute decides to take his wife, Aishwaria Rai along.

* Mohabbatein- Jimmy Shergill waits all night on a bench on a desolate railway station looking at 'the bride'- Preeti Jhangiani living on the other side of tracks.

Well apart from the obvious fact that all of them involve trains and a station, the common thread binding them all is - Apta.

This quaint little railway station just outside Panvel has probably featured in more Hindi movies and ad films than any other single location in India. Apart from the ones mentioned above, Apta has also been featured in Slumdog Millionaire (O...Saaya!), HDFC Standard Life ('Na sir jhuka hai kabhi...') and God knows how many other lesser known movies, TV serials and ads.

What makes Apta so popular among film-makers? We (me and four of my crazy friends) decide to explore it ourselves and end up spending one hot sweaty day at the most desolate railway station I have ever seen in my life- not a single passenger around, no roof to provide respite from the blazing sun, no foodstall, no mineral water or colddrinks available and to add to it, no village nearby too! But it seems it was destined to make this outing as filmy as possible. So here we go- from the deserted station, cut to a beautiful river where we spend an hour cooling off at what would have been a perfect setting for a romantic song (sadly, there was no heroine with us!). Not willing to make the 2-kilometer walk in the blazing sun, we hail an autorickshaw which already has three passengers in it and the driver asks all five of us to squeeze in, making it one unforgettable ride with nine men in an autorickshaw! Back to the station, we turn to the solitary hand-pump on the platform to quench our thirsts. An hour later, as we sit tired and hungry, to our good luck, Netravathi Express is made to halt for Matsyagandha Express to cross. We jump at this opportunity and ask the Pantry Car of Nethravathi to give us some food! But kahani me twist- even they have run out of all food stock and we have to be satisfied with one bottle each of Bisleri and Mirinda! Thankfully the evening passenger arrives bang on time to take us back home- a Happy Ending in true Hindi movie style!

Deja Vu??
Looks familiar??
In 'Mohabbatein', Karan (Jimmy Shergill) waits on this bench for Kiran (Preeti Jhangiani). A few years later in 2009, another Karan waits at the very same spot...


  1. Wow dude, its so difficult to imagine that ALL those places mentioned are the SAME!

    Was there a list of some sort at the station or you just figured it out on your own?

    btw...the title..."Lights...Camera...Apta!"...sounds like you're getting ready for a Parliament session. (if you know what i mean) ;)

  2. @Freak

    There is no list or anything there, I realised it purely on the basis of my observations!

  3. Heyy.. Apta is my close cousin's home town.. I hav been there in bachpan.. though dun remember much of it now.. d pics look beautiful btw.. n i had no idea all d stations were d same.. hehe ;)

  4. now THAT's one heck of an observation dude! n yeah the red n white painted pillars instantly reminded me of DDLJ.. damn cool

    but given ur description of complete absence of any food stall or residence nearby, i still wonder why every1 chose THIS station only!

  5. @Ice Maiden

    Well, it takes keen observation skills to arrive at this conclusion, u know! ;)

    The next time around you visit your close cousin there, you know what to look out for!

  6. @Jagged Edge

    Your answer lies in your query itself- the absence of any foodstalls & other facilities on the platform and any homes/dhabas etc nearby gives the movie directors a completely "virgin" station which can then be depicted in the movie as ANY station in Maharashtra/Gujarat/Punjab as per the demands of the script!

    Another reason is its location- its just the next station outside Panvel so transporting the cast and equipment from Mumbai is a lot easier. So, it seems every time a movie producer approaches CR for permission to use a station, they are straightaway directed to Apta!

  7. Very nice post! Only you could hae come up with such a creative presentation [particularly the last pic ;-)] Entertaining write-up as well - wish you had made it a little longer.


Creative Commons License
My World...My Views by The Blue Indian is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.