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Visa wala gurdwara to graveyard romance, ‘Dunki’ team shares quirky titbits

Visa wala gurdwara to graveyard romance, ‘Dunki’ team shares quirky titbits

New Delhi: Days ahead of the release of "Dunki", actors Shah Rukh Khan, Taapsee Pannu and director Rajkumar Hirani sat down for a conversation in which they discussed the origins of the film and its behind-the-scenes stories.

"Dunki", a comedy-drama based on an illegal immigration technique 'donkey flight', is slated to be released worldwide on Thursday.

In a 29-minute interaction shared by Shah Rukh on his official X page, Hirani said the germ of the film's story came from the imagery of a house near Jalandhar, Punjab, with a large cemented replica of an Air India plane on its terrace, something he initially found funny.

"There are many houses in Punjab that have planes on the rooftops. I was quite amazed by that and that's what piqued our curiosity. Family members of those children who live abroad find it fashionable to put these planes on top of their houses," said the filmmaker, known for "3 Idiots" and "Munna Bhai" films.

When he started researching for the film, Hirani said he discovered how people who seek a better life in countries such as the UK and Canada take the illegal 'donkey route', called 'dunki' in Punjabi, out of India when they court visa troubles.

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There's also a holy place in Jalandhar's Tahlan village called Visa Wala Gurdwara, where people aspiring to go abroad offer prayers.

"There are shops outside that sell toy planes. Thousands of devotees offer these planes and show their passports to the gurus inside the gurdwara with the belief that they will get the visa," the director said.

Shah Rukh reiterated that "Dunki" is all about homecoming.

"'Dunki' means being apart from your loved ones. That is the essence of the film. We leave our home so that we can finally come back home with family. Sometimes, it happens and sometimes, it doesn't," he said.

The film marks his third and last release of 2023 following back-to-back action blockbusters in "Pathaan" and "Jawan".

Shah Rukh, a romantic hero of 1990s Bollywood, quipped that Hirani made him romance with Taapsee in a graveyard as the filmmaker didn't want the actor to do anything he had done before.

"He took me to a graveyard to do romance. And I can bet that even in a graveyard, no one can romance like me," he said.

Taapsee, who had to learn 'gatta kushti', a form of wrestling popular in Kerala, for "Dunki", said she was surprised when Hirani asked her to beat up Shah Rukh in the film.

"After doing five or six sports films, I was finally relieved, thinking that I was going to do a romantic film with SRK. And then the first thing I was asked to do for 'Dunki' was to learn kushti. And then I was told that the one I needed to beat up was SRK himself. I was left wondering what kind of romance this was," she joked.

"Dunki" also stars Vicky Kaushal, Boman Irani, Vikram Kochhar and Anil Grover.

With PTI inputs

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TAGS:Entertainment NewsShah Rukh KhanDunki
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