Would you believe there’s some connection between the city of Bareilly and the on-going American television thriller series Quantico? Well, if you don’t believe that, here’s more. Did you know London’s Madame Tussauds Wax Museum paid a rich tribute to a native of Allahabad? Well, no prizes for guessing because these missing links are names of international celebrities who have spent their childhood in the not-so-glam towns of India: Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra. Think of famous personalities and we conveniently like to jump to conclusion that they belong to the major metros of India. But scratch the surface a little and you will realise what lies beneath the sheen of achievement is several ‘growing’ years of nurturing dreams, steely determination to pursue goals and the recipe of any success story, hard work! Despite belonging to smaller or lesser-known places of the country that lack adequate infrastructure and opportunities, they managed to not only dream big but also use their small-town charm at its best!
This Children’s Day, we take a detour to such cities/towns of India where some of the popular Bollywood celebrities have spent their precious childhood or have been closely associated with.
In the Cradle of Poothamkurussy, Palakkad – Vidya Balan
Born in Poothamkurussy in the Palakkad District of Kerala, Vidya Balan is one of the finest actresses of Hindi Cinema to have won the prestigious National Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film, The Dirty Picture, and critical acclaim for several films including Paa, Ishqiya, No One Killed Jessica, and Kahaani.
The cultural composition of Palakkad or Palghat Gap, a low mountain pass in the Western Ghats, has perhaps influenced Vidya Balan in more ways than one. That she is a connoisseur of Bharatnatyam and Kathak dance forms and trained in Carnatic music is not known to many.
Must visit: Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, Malampuzha Garden and Dam, Seethargundu Viewpoint, Pothundi Dam
The Kai Po Che Star from Patna – Sushant Singh Rajput
While he started his career from the small screen, this dashing young dude from Patna is all set to make it big on the big screen. After the success of Kai Po Che, the star seems promising enough to steal the show as he managed to grab the onscreen role of playing India’s ODI captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in a biopic.
Sushant’s home town Patna also happens to be one of the oldest places in the world! Founded in 490 BCE by the king of Magadha, the ancient Patna was known as Pataliputra, the capital of the Magadha Empire.
Must visit: Nalanda, Golghar, Takht Sri Patna Sahib, Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park, Buddha Smriti Park
The Miss World from Bareilly – Priyanka Chopra
A place like Bareilly can hardly conjure up the image of Miss World, can it? But then it’s people who make places famous! And so did Priyanka Chopra. Born in Jamshedpur and brought up in Bareilly, Priyanka’s first claim to fame was winning the Miss India title and then the Miss World Pageant. And then there was no looking back with her journey in Bollywood and tryst in Hollywood.
Listed as one of the Smart Cities of Uttar Pradesh and India, Bareilly, which Priyanka adores as her real home, is also known as Nath nagari (Land of Lord Shiva), Ala Hazrat (the famous Mausoleum) or Zari nagari. The city is also famous for furniture manufacturing.
Must visit: Trivati Nath Temple, Alakhnath Temple, Chunne Miyan’s Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Dargah Aala Hazrat, Fun City
Belwa ka Bhiku Mahatre – Manoj Bajpai
Whether it was the role of a dacoit Maan Singh in Bandit Queen, or the show stealer Bhiku Mahatre in Satya, this lad from a small village of Bihar on the border of Nepal called Belwa in West Champaran, always managed to get under the skin of the character so convincingly. Several Filmfare awards and National Film Awards are a testimony to his acting mettle.
Belwa is situated near Narkatiaganj town, which shares a porous border with Nepal and is a transit point for trade between the two countries.
Must visit: Chanki Garh, Bhitiharawa Ashram, Bank of Triveni (Confluence), Sumeswer fort, Valmikinagar
Queen of Mandi – Kangana Ranaut
Mandi in Himachal Pradesh is the hometown of this actress who’s come to be known as the Queen of Bollywood today! From Fashion to Tanu Weds Manu, Kangana Ranaut went on to prove her acting skills on the silver screen, lapping every opportunity that came her way with great aplomb. The roles played by her in the recent films have been widely appreciated as characters of substance.
Kangana was brought up in Mandi at her ancestral haveli at Bhambla (now Surajpur). Mandi is a picturesque district in the hills, well known for its beautifully carved temples.
Must visit: Prashar Lake, Barot Valley, Rewalsar Lake, Barot Dam, Bir Monastery, Temples
‘Chhora Ganga Kinare Wala’ from Allahabad – Amitabh Bachchan
Born in Allahabad, the second-oldest city in India, Amitabh Bachchan has acted in more than 180 Indian films for over four decades now! Angry Young Man or Big B, as Indian fans lovingly call him, Mr Bachchan has been honoured by the Government of India with the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan. The Government of France too honoured him with its highest civilian honour, Knight of the Legion of Honour.
Allahabad, originally called Prayaga or “place of offerings”, has been a strong influence on the senior Bachchan. His ancestral home at 17, Clive Road has been converted into an educational trust as a tribute of his father, the Hindi poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan.
Must visit: Triveni Sangam Allahabad, Allahabad Museum, All Saints Cathedral, Khusro Bagh, Allahabad Fort
iTraveller shares the best wishes to :Happy Children’s Day