Bollywood movies, for a long time, have been centered and shot in Maharashtra, Mumbai being the film capital of the country. We have got accustomed to seeing the panoramic shots of Mumbai in movies for a long time, but lately the trend has been shifting towards making movies more local.

From locations to actors, dialects and even the body language and eccentricities, everything is turning to be hyperlocal and Lucknow, it seems, is the center of the shift. Uttar Pradesh has an extremely relaxed and incentive forward policy when it comes to filming in the state and it is drawing filmmakers to the shore of the city of nawabs.

UP government, in February of 2018, made a major change in the state's filming policies. The shift happened when the government announced that any film being shot in UP using any "Indian Language" including Hindi, English and regional languages will receive a subsidy of ₹50 lakh.

Not just that, according to the updated laws any film shot in the state would also be returned the GST charged on the shooting and film distribution process. UP also has a ton of other subsidies and benefits which are aimed at promoting filmmakers to come to the city. These policies have started a shooting avalanche of sorts which started from Ayushmann Khurrana's Article 15.

The movies and shows you can expect to see Lucknow in

Ayushmann Khurrana's Article 15 has been shot in and around Lucknow and we saw glimpses of the city throughout the movie. Bhumi Pednekar, Aparshakti khurrana, Kartik Aaryan and Ananya Pandey starrer 'Pati Patni aur Woh' is being shot in Hazratganj and nearby areas, while Ayushmann Khurrana and Amitabh Bachchan's 'Gulabo Sitabo is being filmed in Lucknow University.

While Ayushmann Khurrana, Yami Gautam and Bhumi Pednekar's 'Baala' has just been wrapped-up. Among the movies which have recently been shot in the city, we have Nawazuddin Siddiqui's 'Raat Akeli Hai' , John Abraham's 'Baatla House, Siddharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra's 'Jabariya Jodi', Janhvi Kapoor's 'Gunjan Saxena Biopic' and the popular Amazon Show 'Mirzapur 2'. With the number of movies being shot in the city, you're sure to catch a glimpse of a star or two.

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350km from Lucknow, 'Bhagwati Van' to be the spiritual tourism hub in UP

A total of 3.5 lakh trees, of more than 250 species, have been planted at Bhagwati Van!

The Uttar Pradesh government plans to develop an eco-tourism spot that could provide a perfect place for people looking for a spiritual sojourn. The government has decided to develop the Bhagwati Van along the Ganga, in Kasganj district, as a centre for spiritual tourism.

The Bhagwati Van is a man-made forest which is unique in more ways than one. The forest has been raised over 316 hectares of land, which has been reclaimed by the state government from encroachers. A total of 3.5 lakh trees, of more than 250 species, have been planted here.

Divisional forest officer (DFO), Kasganj, Diwaker Kumar Vashisht said, "We had been meeting villagers and convincing them since October last year to remove the encroachments. After the villagers agreed to vacate the land, we formed a local 'samiti' of villagers. It was all done without any public agitation."

The forest, which has its base in Puranic scriptures, is at Datlana Khaam village and has been declared as a Ganga 'gram'."It has Soronji 'teerth' and devotees from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other states come to this shrine," said Vashisht.

The entire reclaimed land is divided into three parts. The forest raised at the spot has trees planted in specific formations to create 'vatikas' (gardens) mentioned in religious scriptures.

"We planted over two lakh trees in Mahavan forest, which is one of the three parts and has species like Sheesham and Khair that are naturally found along the Ganga. The other part is 'Shreevan', which has connection with 'Arth Ganga' under the central government's Namami Gange project. This has species which will be economically beneficial to farmers. We had promised farmers that we would help them increase their income through this plantation," he said.

The third is 'Tapovan' which has 51,000 trees and Vyas and Vidur 'kutirs'. At present, the forest is being managed by the forest department but later local groups of villagers may look after it.

The 'Dhanvantari Vatika' has 75 types of medicinal plants and herbs. The 'Nakshatra Vatika' has 27 tree varieties, planted in specific positions to represent 27 'nakshatras' (planets).

The 'Navgrah Vatika', planted to manage planetary influences, is also a part of it. 'Harishankari', has trees like 'peepal, pakad and bargad' planted together. The three tree varieties represent the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. 'Panchvati', the garden of five tree varieties mentioned in the Ramayana, also finds place here.

- With inputs from IANS

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