Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani – A reality check on trekking

Bollywood has always been famous for showcasing exotic locations from India and abroad in its movies. Switzerland is the most featured location outside India, followed by Paris, London, South Africa, Egypt, etc. Goa is one of the most favored places featured from India if filmmakers are looking homeward for inspiration.

Many lesser-known destinations from India that are hitherto less explored are getting massive attention, thanks to Bollywood films. The road trip to Goa in the movie Dil Chahta hai became symbolic for the youth of the country.

Another destination featured from India is Manali, which is very scenic with its tall trees of oak, sal, and pines interspersed with the gushing flow of the river Beas. Manali was popularized by the film Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani as a significant scene was shot here.

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, directed by Ayan Mukherjee,  is one of the best Bollywood flicks that is based on traveling in Indian destinations. It is a story of Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone who play the two characters, Bunny and Naina. These two youngsters get acquainted with each other on their journey to Manali while trekking.

‘Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’ is a travel inspiring feel-good movie that inspires us to catch up with long-lost school friends and just travel.  Ranbir Kapoor’s role as a travel journalist was very inspiring for many youngsters to take up travel journalism and live a wanderlust life like Bunny!

In the first half of the movie, there are breathtaking landscapes of Gulmarg, Kashmir, which is portrayed as Manali in the film. These landscapes urge the traveler in us to go hiking and trekking through the snow-laden mountains of the Himalayas.

Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani is the first Bollywood movie which showed trekking as an adventure activity that inspired many youngsters to take up trekking & hiking. There are a bunch of scenes in this movie set on the snow-capped mountains which included trekking by the actors.

But the story-line in many parts represented a  blatant ignorance of preparation and safety during trekking. This ignorance could spoil the entire experience of this beautiful adventure activity, and you could pay a heavy price for it.

Unfortunately, what was depicted about trekking in the movie was very hard to digest for a real trekker. It painted a wrong picture of trekking. The portrayal of trekking as glam activity was a complete misnomer.

We felt that there are some aspects of trekking shown in the movie that needs to be clarified. Here, we are offering a few suggestions, that can help you trek better and erase any misconceptions of trekking you may have after watching the movie.

Trekking is not a race

On the first day of the trek, the trek leader forms two teams from the trek group and challenges them to a race. He declares that the team which loses will do all the work after reaching the campsite, and the winning team gets to relax and enjoy.

Come on !! Trekking is not a race. It is all about immersing yourself in the natural beauty around you as you walk.  You enjoy the scenic views, admire the miracles of nature, be with yourself, and listen to your body as you walk. Take the breaks the way you like. Go at your own pace. The entire experience of hiking is a treat for the soul. Don’t run on the trail and ruin the experience.

Trekking is not about being fashionable by showing off your skin

On the first day of the trek, you see Deepika Padukone in a denim skirt and another girl in hot pants.

On a Himalayan trek, you hike above  8,000 feet and mostly in the snow if its a winter trek, so you don’t do so in mini skirts or hot pants. The temperatures you experience in winter are extreme and the climbs are steep. Be well-equipped for the trek before you start. Ranbir Kapoor is shown trekking in leather jackets during the day when it is sunny. Keep off the woolens or leather when it is bright as you will sweat a lot and may get all wet inside.

Trekking is not a Dating camp.

After watching the movie, many youngsters who enrolled in trekking thought that they would find their love partner during the trip. They were probably fantasying about a love affair which they would have on the trip.

Yes, you do fall in love. But, with the majestic mountains, the gushing streams & rivers, chirping of the birds, the wildflowers en-route, the whistling of winds and the night sky laden with innumerable stars.  It is the highest form of love-affair you will have with nature in its pristine way.

You may not find your love from the opposite sex, but you will build bonds.  These are friendship bonds that you create when you are sweating it out together on the slopes. You form long-lasting relationships when you are helping each other on the way, pepping up not so fit colleagues, sitting around a bonfire chitchatting or having long conversations.

Trekking is not a Picnic

The campsite is not a picnic spot filled with people who are drinking and partying. Campsites are not at all filled with luxury and this is not the reason and purpose of a trek. Having too much luxury is against the spirit of trekking.

Most of the time, you are sweating it out on the slopes carrying your heavy backpacks. You get up early at odd hours to begin preparation for your trek. Doing the morning chores in winter with cold water is a task in itself. Many times you are waiting in queue for your turn at the toilet tent. Basic food is available and only at a given time.

The entire trekking experience is supposed to be about minimalist living.

Take a Sufficient Quantity of Water – Not Alcohol

To maintain the pH balance and to avoid AMS i.e. Acute Mountain syndrome, you need to stay hydrated on long treks. You need to have more water at high altitudes because the air starts getting thinner and it is bound to make you thirsty. You might not see the sweat dripping from your forehead, but you are continually perspiring while breathing. Increase the fluid intake to maintain the healthy balance of your body. Don’t let the dehydration kill the fun of trekking.

On the day of your summit climb, you do not gulp some alcohol for a quick boost of energy. Drinking alcohol can be fatal at high altitudes as it may aggravate conditions of AMS i.e., Acute Mountain syndrome due to dehydration.

Alcohol can make it harder for oxygen supply to reach your brain. If drink-and-drive is not safe, drinking-and-trekking is suicidal.

Don’t go for Uninformed Getaways

In the movie, Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone leave for an uninformed getaway to Bhuta Parbat (the haunted peak) without enough information about the trail and necessary equipment.

Such getaways by novice trekkers can turn out to be a total misadventure and you may risk your life doing so. You could get lost if there is a snowstorm and may die due to a lack of food and water if you can’t find your way back to the campsite.

We are not against explorations, but it is important to be well-read about the trail and the terrain before setting out.

Recently there was an incident of porters (who are locals and know the mountains well ) losing their way during the Rupin pass trek. They were stuck at high altitudes after a snowstorm not knowing which way to go as fresh snow had covered the entire trail.  They weren’t carrying enough to eat in their backpack and they didn’t have any water sources around them.

It is advisable to go with an experienced guide or carry a GPS trail of the trek which can be handy in unforeseen emergencies.

The Reality while shooting the film

Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone with the entire cast of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani shot the scenes the hard way. Even though they are star actors, yet they had to walk for hours and trek up the steep heights. They had to brave the extreme weather conditions and shoot at sub-zero temperatures for the trekking scenes. They had to deal with prolonged power cuts at their hotel with no warm water supply.

When asked whether it was worth it – the answer was a resounding – “Yes, It was all worth it for the unforgettable journey we got in return.”

The trek is not entirely shot in Manali and some of the incredible landscape is actually in Kashmir.

While in Manali, when they were shooting at the Hidimba temple for Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, they did go up to the famous Hampta Pass, which offers incredible views of the grand Himalayas.

But that doesn’t mean treks aren’t for everyone. Do take the necessary precautions and prepare well in advance to go up the ladder of adventure. Be well informed about the trek by reading blogs of experienced trekkers. A lot of the REAL stuff about trekking is available online, so don’t get carried away by UNREAL Bollywood stuff portrayed in the movie Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani.

Image Courtesy – mtvindia.com

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