World through my eyes
Bruges, ‘the Venice of the North’, a splendid medieval Art City in Flanders, Belgium is one of the main locations of the Bollywood film Peekay (PK), the first Indian feature film to be shot in the city. The Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma and Sushant Singh Rajput starrer Peekay (PK) directed by Rajkumar Hirani and produced by Rajkumar Hirani Films and Vidhu Vinod Chopra Films in association with UTV Motion Pictures, filmed some major landmarks of Bruges. These include the Market Square and Belfry, Howest Campus Sint-Jorisstraat, the Beguinage (an architectural complex that used to house a semi-monastic community of religious women called Beguines), plus several streets and canals. The sequences shot in Bruges also feature a lilting romantic song “Chaar Kadam” that also beautifully captures some of the great landmarks of the town.
Bruges, surrounded by an almost continuous ring of canals, is the best preserved example of medieval Flanders and is one of the premier tourist destinations of the region attracting more than 4 million visitors each year. The city boasts of numerous medieval buildings, churches, museums and art collections. It can be easily explored on foot, by boat along quiet canals, or by horse-drawn carriages over cobblestone streets. The historic center of Bruges is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is teeming with picture perfect places of interest.
PK is one of the big budget releases of 2014. The film tells the story about an Indian student living in Bruges, who wants to marry her boyfriend, but faces all kinds of obstacles. This isn’t just another typical romantic Bollywood film and the story goes deeper. Director Rajkumar Hirani decided on the destination post his visit to Bruges. He was impressed by Bruges’ alleys, picturesque canals and verdant ramparts and her elegant mysteriousness. The duo of Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra have successfully partnered in some of the top Bollywood hits earlier including “Munna Bhai MBBS”, “Lage Raho Munna Bhai” and “3 idiots”. Among these, “3 Idiots” was the highest grosser at the box office in 2009, and the film also featured Aamir Khan among others in the star cast. PK brings this successful team back after a gap of 5 years. “I was spellbound by the picturesque architecture, landscapes, the strong historical background and clean refreshing environs. I decided that this is just the right place to shoot a part of the movie as it fitted in beautifully with the storyline”, said Rajkumar Hirani.
Karl Van den Bossche, Consul General of Belgium in Mumbai said, “We are overjoyed that people in India will get a glimpse of the beautiful city of Bruges through the film. I am sure this will inspire people to visit and experience the city and Belgium, which has so much to offer to Indian travellers. We are there to assist all tourists and travel agents with their visa requests if they want to travel to Bruges and Belgium.” Sunil Puri, India Representative of Visit Flanders said, “Bruges is one of the four major art cities of Flanders, which is the northern federated state of the Kingdom of Belgium. The other enchanting cities are Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels. Even though Indians are now travelling to various parts of the globe, Bruges is the brightest gem amongst the medieval cities of Europe. We look forward to welcoming more and more Indian visitors to this remarkable destination.”