Lucknow, the City of Nawabs, has inspired filmmakers to bring their vision alive on screen with its beautiful monuments, rustic charm and picturesque locales. The minarets and domes of the Bada Imambara featured prominently in Satyajit Ray’s 1977 classic Shatranj Ke Khilari, before the city captured the imagination of director Muzaffar Ali to shoot his epic, Umrao Jaan, the story of a famous courtesan.
With the current crop of filmmakers looking at smaller towns and cities for inspiration, Lucknow’s rich culinary heritage, the balance of traditional values and modern ideas, and impressive architectural structures provide the perfect backdrop for them to mount their canvas. Soak in Lucknow's culture with these incredible movies this weekend.Gulabo Sitabo (2020)
Whether it is due to the colloquial flavour or the streets of Hazratganj and Chowk, the old city of Lucknow gives this comedy-drama by Shoojit Sircar its real character. The crumbling old haveli, Fatima Mahal, which is the bone of contention between the grumpy landlord Mirza (Amitabh Bachchan) and his poor but cunning tenant Baankey (Ayushmann Khurrana), almost becomes a living character in the film written by Juhi Chaturvedi, who hails from Lucknow as well.
Streaming on Amazon Prime VideoRaid (2018)
Inspired by the longest-running income tax raid in India, the Ajay Devgn-starrer is set in the 1981 Lucknow. Devgn plays the role of IRS officer Amay Patnaik, and is seen enjoying marital bliss with his wife, Malini (Ileana D’Cruz), giving director Raj Kumar Gupta the chance to capture the city's beautiful monuments—including the famous Ghanta Ghar. A major chunk of the film was also shot at Shivgarh Palace, a few kilometres away from Lucknow.
Streaming on Disney+ HotstarBullet Raja (2013)
Saif Ali Khan played a gangster in this Tigmanshu Dhulia-directorial, set against the backdrop of the underworld and mafia in Uttar Pradesh. Shooting on location gave the makers enough scope to showcase the busy streets and nooks and corners of Lucknow. Hazratganj’s houses, with their stained-glass windows and high ceilings, added a charm to the narrative.
Streaming on Disney+ HotstarDaawat-e-Ishq (2014)
Mention Lucknow and you’re sure to think of mouth-watering galouti kebabs. In this romantic drama, Tariq (Aditya Roy Kapur) is a chef who owns a kebab eatery in the city, giving Gulrez (Parineeti Chopra) and himself enough opportunity to bond over their love for good food at local joints, and sing songs on the culture-soaked, narrow streets.
Streaming on Amazon Prime VideoGunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl (2020)
The biopic of India’s first female airforce officer to go to war, Gunjan Saxena - The Kargil War begins in Lucknow, where she was born and raised. A house in Nirala Nagar was shown to be where her family lives while a number of scenes were also shot at La Martiniere College and Rumi Darwaza among other prominent locations of the city.
Streaming on NetflixArticle 15 (2019)
After shooting his film, Mulk, in Lucknow, director Anubhav Sinha returned to his favourite city once again to work on Article 15, a movie based on the gruesome Badaun rapes in Uttar Pradesh. A gritty subject like that made the director look beyond the obvious, with many of the signature sequences of the Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer being shot in the interiors of Lucknow. Most of the film has been shot either in the early morning or at night to capture a sense of foreboding.
Streaming on NetflixIshaqzaade (2012)
The rivalry between two political families—the Chauhans and the Querishis—plays out in the streets and havelis of Lucknow, in this Bollywood action-drama. The popular song, ‘Jhalla Vallah’, picturised on Gauahar Khan, Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra, was shot entirely at the Ahmad Manzil in the Chowk area of old Lucknow.
Streaming on Amazon Prime VideoRaat Akeli Hai (2020)
Playing a small-time cop, Nawazuddin Siddiqui is called for an investigation into the murder of a wealthy person in the recently-released whodunit. However, his critically acclaimed performance as Inspector Jatil Yadav was just one of the highlights. Adding to his nuanced work are the real-time locations of Thakurganj, Quaiserbagh Bus Stand and its police station where many portions of the movie are shot.
Streaming on NetflixAlso read:
5 Bollywood movies that will take you on a virtual trip to Goa, on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar
8 Bollywood movies that capture the heavenly beauty of Ladakh, on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar
7 movies that give you a culture-soaked tour of Kolkata, on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and more