Indian Steam in Cinema
A compilation of movies where Indian steam trains can be seen. This list was compiled by Harsh Vardhan with contributions from other IRFCA members.
11 O'Clock 1949 (B/W) It is a railway oriented adventure film featuring Fearless Nadia. (Contributed by Warren Miller.)
Aadmi Aur Insaan 1969 Towards the end of this Dharmendra, Saira Banu, Mumtaz and Firoz Khan starrer, there is a thrilling sequence on board a WP hauled luxury train, which I believe is the AC Express or Frontier Mail as this is pre-Rajdhani era. The scenes were shot in the First Class A/C and the Dining Car. To show that the train is on it's way to Delhi they have shown a mix of WP hauled trains including a rare shot of the Blue WP (with crown on the smokestack) hauled Flying Ranee between Mahim and Bandra stations.
Aankhen 1968 At the outset of this spy film, a WG hauled train is shown blown up by foreign agents while traversing a bridge in Assam. Note that there was very little broad gauge in Assam at this time though!
Achut Kanya 1936 (B/W) In this Ashok Kumar and Kanan Devi film has Kanan Devi playing the role of a level crossing gatekeeper's daughter who averts an accident towards the end of the film.
Aakhri Khat 1966 Aakhri Khat is the tale of a toddler on the streets of Delhi as he goes about searching for his mother who has passed away. The child oblivious to the fact that his mother is no more retraces his steps to the last place where he saw her thinking his mother is playing an elaborate game of hide & seek. In the meantime he survives on the crumbs that he finds on the streets and on the leftovers of others. During his escapades, the child played by Master Bunty also sleeps between the tracks whilst a steam train passes over him and he escapes unscathed.
Aap Ki Kasam 1974 Rajesh Khanna is leaving Bombay for good after having gone through a divorce, which he now realizes, was only due to his suspicious nature and not being able to trust his wife. He boards a long distance train that obviously is hauled by a DC electric as one can also see in the long shots of the train on a curve. However, they show you close up shots of a WP wheels, cylinders and firebox to depict the motion of the train and the anguish inside the man. Song Zindagi ke safar mein plays in the background and was an instant hit.
Abhijan 1962 (B/W Bangla) The film Abhijan has a train sequence where Soumitra Chatterjee as Narsingh races his old Chrysler with an equally dilapidated steam engine pulled passenger train and wins regardless of the headstart the train has courtesy a level-crossing. The train would be in the branch lines in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, either on the Kirnahar-Nanur section (Narrow Gauge) or the Sainthia-Andal section which passes close by Dubrajpur where a lot of the film was shot. (Contributed by Ritadhi Chakravarti.)
Agantuk 1992 (Bangla) Satyajit Ray's last film has the 102 Dn New Delhi - Howrah Rajdhani Express captured in all its glory. It has marvelous shots of the then red & cream ICF rake with a Ghaziabad WAP1 in the lead banking along a curve with horns blaring away in full pitch. (Contributed by Bhaskar Roy.)
Editor's Note: There is no depiction of steam in this film but has been mentioned here for the sake of continuity of Satyajit Roy's films.
Andaz 1949 (B/W) This film features scene of the Simla line, and for good measure, an Avro Lancastrian airliner at Delhi airport. (Contributed by Warren Miller.)
Andaz 1971 At the very end of the film, there is a station scene when the father in law Ajit comes to take Hema Malini back, whom he had discarded after the accidental death of his son. No complete locomotive here but there is a steam whistle depicted and you can also see barless windows in second class coaches.
Aparajito 1956 (B/W) The film begins with Harihar (Apu's father) and his family inside a train crossing the Madan Mohan Malviya rail bridge (previously known as Dufferin Bridge) over the River Ganges between Vyasnagar and Kashi, just before Varanasi. Almost the entire city of Varanasi (resembling a horse-shoe) has been captured in this great shot from the train itself. (Contributed by Bhaskar Roy.) There is at least one other scene depicting railways where Apu leaves for Calcutta from Benaras station. (Contributed by Satish Pai.)
Apur Sansar 1959 (B/W Bangla) The erstwhile Chitpore yard (now the Kolkata Terminal) has been extensively used at various places in the film showing shunting trains, smoke, train movements and whistles, etc. (Contributed by Bhaskar Roy.)
Aranyer Din Ratri 1970 (Bangla) There is a very brief scene of a goods train in this film. (Contributed by Ritadhi Chakravarti.)
A Passage to India 1984 (English) Based on E.M. Forster's book and set in imperial India, the film opens with a scene showing arrival of a ship from England at Bombay Port. The passengers head to Bombay VT to board the Imperial Mail. There are some very true to life sights and sound in the scenes showing this journey. When the old woman and her intended daughter-in-law arrive at their destination Chandrapore, there is much pomp as the chief of the town is also arriving by the same train. On their journey home from the station, they stop at a level crossing for a passenger train with XE locomotive and full of natives up to the roof shows the total contrast in the lifestyles of the rulers and the ruled. Dr. Aziz played by Victor Banerji befriends the two English women and proposes to take them for a picnic to Marabar caves. The journey to the caves by rail is on the disguised Nilgiri Railway and is done very well. Later when Mrs. Moore is leaving for England, only her son and Prof. Godbole come to see her off as she is seen leaving Chandrapore station at night by the Imperial Mail.
Apur Sansar 1959 (B/W) The last one in Apu Trilogy, Apur Sansar has Apu living in a room right next to a railway yard, and while there is no direct focus on the trains, the whistles of the locomotives are omnipresent and they are seen quite often as part of a background in many scenes. There is, however, one memorable scene where a train is part of the story, which is the famous 'suicide' scene in which Apu is seen standing next to the tracks contemplating killing himself while a train approaches. (Contributed by Satish Pai.)
Aradhana 1969 Rajesh Khanna serenades Sharmila Tagore while he is on a Jeep and she is riding the Up DHR train. The song Mere sapnon ki rani became an instant super hit and is probably the best known song featuring a train in India Cinema. There have been many other songs with DHR in background but this one was probably the first one in colour. It shows several important features of DHR including the sharpest curve at the 'Agony Point.'
Baksa Badal 1970 (Bangla) Satyajit Ray wrote the screenplay and scored the music for this film which has some train sequences. The film opens with a train shot of Soumitra Chatterjee and Aparna Dasgupta is also on the same train in a first class. The shot is close to Siliguri and Soumitra and Aparna's bags get switched at Siliguri junction. There is also second train scene featuring Soumitra and Aparna Dasgupta. (Contributed by Ritadhi Chakravarti.)
Bandini 1963 (B/W) The story of this film is based in pre-independence India. The movie ends on the banks of the Ganges near Bhagalpur/Mungher. Bandini was shot near the Ganga ghat of Monghyr. The train tracks came up to the ghat and passengers were transferred across the river in a steamer to take another train for onward journey. The last scene of the film depicts smoking steam engines, trains etc. while the song Mere Saajan hain us paar plays. (Contributed by Adesh Saxena.) Correction and addition proposed by 'sbg-mkr' on IRFCA forum: Bandini was shot near Sahibganj (including Sahibganj/Sakrigali Ghat), 100km or so downstram from Monghyr. The crew stayed in a steamer named 'Yamuna' for the whole duration of the shooting around Saraswati Puja.
Basant 1960 Very good shots of WP locomotive can be seen many times in this film. (Contributed by Capt. J.D. Singh.)
Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi 1966 Dharmendra is a happy-go-lucky but principled young man. He has been fired from yet another job and is going home by one of the narrow gauge trains on Martin's Light Railway (probably the Sheakhala branch) network at Howrah. While his friend pokes fun at him, he sings the title song standing mostly at the door of the train while it whizzes by a rural backdrop. Later one of the female leads played by Tanuja who is also in the same train tries to jump from moving train and is saved by our hero.
Bahu Begum 1967 Nawab Yusuf is tricked by his uncle to go to Allahabad on a pretext and this trip is depicted by a momentary shot of a WG hauled mixed passenger train with four wheeled covered wagons in the lead.
Bhowani Junction 1956 Based on the masterpiece from John Masters, this film is about Anglo Indian community in pre-partition India. Set at imaginary railway town called Bhowani Junction, this film has sterling performances by Ava Gardner, Bill Travers and Stewart Granger amongst others. Victoria Jones played by Ava is an Anglo Indian girl who is constantly tormented by her inability to find an identity and belongingness in India just before partition. Her father is a locomotive driver and she works for the Women Army Corps. A large part of the film is set around railways that played an all-important role during war years, before and after partition and were 100% powered by steam. The railway scenes in the film were shot in Lahore and other parts of North-west Pakistan however there are occasional glimpses of standard gauge and other railway stock from England. You can XC, SG(S) and HGS class locomotives here amongst others. The train sabotage/derailment and rescue scene is done very well.
Boond Jo Ban Gayi Moti 1967 At the end of the film, Jeetendra is a schoolteacher who is accused of murder of a village girl but it is his stepbrother who finally confesses to it in the court. His account of his leaving the village after the murder is shown by a double-headed narrow gauge steam train with ZE class locomotives at helm. This is Satpura Railway in all possibility.
Boy Friend 1961 (B/W) Boy Friend Shammi Kapoor is a happy-go-lucky person who is interested in working in theatre. In the early part of the film, he hops aboard the roof of the Simla - Kalka train and sings Mujhe apna yaar bana lo. This is a mixed train with six carriages and is hauled by a ZF class No. 75 locomotive. At the end of the song the train comes out of a tunnel no. 103 whistling and goes through a sharp S curve just after the tunnel
Brahmachari 1968 Shammi Kapoor play the eternal bachelor who only aims in life is to adopt homeless children and raise them like his own. One day he takes them out for a picnic. This is Sayaji Garden at Baroda and although this is no mainline run, it is still real 4-6-2 steam engine on a 12" gauge pulling a train full of children in open carriages. The song is Chakke pe chakka chakke pe gaadi.
China Town 1962 (B/W) Shammi Kapoor disguises as a holy man to be with his sweetheart Shakila. She is traveling first class in the down DHR train with her father who doesn't approve of Shammi Kapoor. He breaks into the bhajan Dekho ji ek bala jogi matwala and you can see several scenes of the Up train including one at the Batasia loop before the end of the song.
Chiriakhana 1967 (B/W Bangla) There is a sequence inside a local train on the Sealdah - Barasat line. (Contributed by Bhaskar Roy.)
Chor Machaye Shor 1974 In this film, Shashi Kapoor and Mumtaz are shown boarding a train. From the tender it appeared to be a narrow gauge steam locomotive but then as their journey proceeded it became a broad gauge WP! This was followed by the scene of an accident shown with models with the train hurtling off a bridge.
Cochin Express 1967 (B/W Malyalam) It is a detective story that starts at Chennai and ends at Cochin. Almost all important stations on this route are depicted in it and there is a song also that speaks of some stations on the line. This train was so popular during these years as one had to touch Madras to go to any place beyond Madras state (There was no Tamilnadu then). There were no direct trains to any place from Cochin except to Bombay and Bangalore. (Contributed by Venugopal Bhaskaran Nair.)
Daag 1973 Rajesh Khanna is a convicted murderer who has escaped from the jail van that met with an accident. He is still handcuffed on one arm with another prisoner. They hang across the rail of what look like the old Vasai Bridge at night and a WP hauled train helps cut the handcuff off. Everyone believes that he has died in the accident and his widow Sharmila Tagore moves on to Simla to find work as a teacher. This move is shown 'erroneously' with a nice shot of the Darjeeling train at the Batasia loop with Kanchenjunga in the backdrop. Later she sings Hawa Chale Kaise to her young son to put him to sleep and a part of the song is picturised on the older Kalka - Simla Railcar.
Dal-pati 1991 (Thalapathi in Tamil) Mani Ratnam is another film director who is obsessed with trains and you see them in almost every film in his portfolio. This original Tamil film that was remade in Hindi has a long opening scene of a YG hauled goods train on the Quilon - Tenkasi route. A young woman in the village delivers a male child out of wedlock. Out of shame she decides to discard the newborn but as soon as the covered four wheeler goods wagon of the train where she had left the child starts moving, she realises her folly. The song In aankhon ka dulaara hai plays in the background while she longs for the child moving farther and farther away from her along with the moving train. The train rolls through beautiful terrain, goes over a stone viaduct and has a metre gauge caboose.
Dharkan 1972 Villian Roopesh Kumar kidnaps a child from a moving Kalka - Simla train and later Sanjay Khan and Mumtaz fight him and his goons in the Goregaon yards in Mumbai. The fainted child is rescued by Mumtaz as he is about to be crushed under the wheels of a WP which is being lowered on the same track by a crane.
Dil hi to hai 1963 (B/W) At the start of the film, there is a scene at the railway station which appears to be a set but the subsequent shots of the train shows an XC class locomotive hauling a train though rural backdrop and then through the electrified suburban network of Calcutta.
Dil Se 1998 This is a Mani Ratnam's film that opens with a scene of an All India Radio Reporter at a station waiting overnight for the early morning train. This is Nilgiri Railway but masquerading as some place in northeast India. Shah Rukh Khan misses the train that he is waiting for and the girl that he was trying to impress. Nevertheless he boards the next one where he meets a raunchily dressed local with her troop and together they perform Chal chaiyan chaiyan on top of the coaches, on a metre gauge flatcar etc. This was the first major song in the Indian Cinema after the closing of the mainline steam and became so famous that for sometime that many producers wanted a train action for their film hereafter.
Devdas 1955(B/W) Devdas Dileep Kumar is dejected when he realizes that his Paro is married off elsewhere. He goes wandering around the country by train only accompanied by his faithful servant. All he does on the train is to drink and fantasise about Paro. There are several scenes of tracks, stations, trains and a silhouetted WP engine to depict this journey before Devdas decides to get off at a wayside station. The servant who is traveling third class is unaware of this.
Do Kaliaan 1968 Ganga and Jamuna aka 'Do Kaliaan', the twins played by child actress Neetu Singh want to pray at Tirupati to reunite their estranged parents. Conniving Manorama wants to have them killed instead so she gets her henchmen to accompany them. A metre gauge train is shown leaving Krishnarajpuram followed by excellent shot of a YP hauled train on a bridge. Finally the YP hauled train is shown arriving at a crowded Tirupati East station where there is a steam hauled train ready to leave in opposite direction.
Dost 1974 At the outset of the film, Maanav played by Dharmendra is returning to the Simla to re-unite with his guardian who is a priest at the local church. He is thinking about the song that the father used to sing to give him words of encouragement and wisdom. Gaadi bula rahi hai goes on while the train negotiates the winding slopes and goes through tunnels. The movie is in colour and a shining KC 520 locomotive hauls the train in old KSR livery. The only letdown is the credits that run on top of what is first class photography. At the end of the song, Dharmendra gets off at Taradevi station. The song repeats again when the father is killed and Dharmendra is reminiscing about him. Later in the film, when Dharmendra goes looking for a job in the city and is unsuccessful, one evening while he is returning home, a WP hauled passenger train passes in the background. Interesting to note is the Rajdhani livery on the first coach of the train.
Do Ustaad 1959 (B/W) A boy is running from police at the beginning of the film and is chased through yards. There is a simmering WG, a broad gauge tank locomotive shunting in the yards and a Cowan Sheldon crane seen in the chase. In the later part of the film, the boy now grown up and played by Raj Kapoor saves a woman who is walking on the tracks to commit suicide. The train here however appears to be a stock shot of a North American train and is shown running almost too fast to creates the urgency in the scene.
Ek Chadar Maili Si 1986 Kulbhusan Kharbanda is a tonga driver at a rural station in Punjab and ferries passengers back and forth to the village. In the beginning, a WL 15049 in Jallundhar shed livery is seen arriving at the station. Following the arrival of the train there is a commotion at the station, caused mostly by the tongawallahs in their bid to get more passengers.
Ek Musphir Ek Hasina 1962 (B/W) Lt. Ajai Mehra, who has lost his memory fighting in Kashmir in 1947, finds a tailoring mark of a Bombay tailor on his shirt and travels to Bombay by train to find his root. A short clip of an unidentified BESA class Central Railway locomotive hauling old wooden carriages follows with a view of Victoria Terminus to mark his arrival at Bombay.
Gadar 2001 This film is set during the Indo-Pakistan partition era and has all the rhetoric and propaganda that is usually associated with films on this subject. In the end of the film, there is a rather long and stretched out sequence depicting the daring escape of the protagonist and his heroine from Pakistan aboard a goods train. Unfortunately, the only working broad gauge locomotive they could find in the 21st Century to pull this train was a WP class No. 7015; which is such a hallmark postwar Indian locomotive. Nonetheless it was used, as it was readily available after it had been recently restored. The film is shot around Bikaner area and the as you can see in the film, the bullet nose of the engine was damaged during the shooting due to blatant disregard on this national heritage by the filmmakers.
Gandhi 1982 (Hindi/English) Gandhi comes back to India from South Africa sets out for a soul-searching trip across the sub-continent with his wife and followers in tow. What could be a better way to discover the country than a train? This epic journey is very well done by Richard Attenborough who got an authentic BESA 4-6-0 metre gauge engine and matching wooden carriages all done in BBCIR colours to shoot this part and the result is history.
Garam Hawa 1973 The story is set in Agra in the period immediately following the partition of India and deals with the turmoil faced by a Muslim family unable to decide whether to go to Pakistan or stay in India. Salim Mirza played by Balraj Sahni has to bear having to see all his near and dear ones off to the station on their way to Pakistan. There are several railway scenes, including one in the opening of the film, at Agra station with Agra Fort as the backdrop. A Western Railway WP blows its whistle can be seen leaving with a mixed train. WP 7154 can also be seen in one of these station sequences.
Ghulami 1985 In feudal Rajasthan, the differences between the rich and the poor are deep-seated. Dharmendra the protagonist in this film takes up the cause of the poor. There are several evocative scenes of YP locomotives including No. 2225 hauling passenger/mixed trains going through arid areas of Bikaner - Fatehpur Shekhawati region in the early part of the film. Song Mere pee ko pawan is very well done.
Guru 2007 Gurukant Desai played by Abhishek Bachchan leaves his native village in Gujrat to find his fortune in Bombay and there is a train on a wayside station hauled by WP 7161. In an earlier scene his find his would be wife who is running away from home in a train hauled by the same locomotive.
Heeralal Pannalal 1978 In the climax scene, a train is hijacked by the villains who are holding the two female leads captive. They are attempting to leave Goa and disable the train brakes so they cannot be stopped before they reach Margao. In the distant shots, a WG hauled train can be seen on what is unmistakably the Diva - Panvel line and at one point even the Panvel cabin can be clearly seen. During the close ups and inside locomotive scenes, it turns into a Western Railway AWD locomotive! In between models have been used to show train on fire. In the end, the runaway train runs off the track after knocking down a buffer and keeps going several hundred meters on bare ground and then stops before a Ganpati statue in a temple. Even with all the implausible scenario, the railway footage is a treat for any railfan.
Hum Rahi 1974 When a boy and a girl meet while they are on their way to the big city in search of a job, they constantly argue and clash on the station platform, foot over bridge and inside the first class coupe. Randhir Kapoor sings Chup chup chup kyun baithi ho to tease Tanuja and there is a silhouette shot of a WP hauled train.
Jab Jab Phool Khile 1965 A houseboat owner in Kashmir falls in love with a visiting tourist and follows her to the big city. Unable to compromise with their different origins, the hero Shashi Kapoor is leaving for Pathankot at the end of the film when Nanda realizes where her heart belongs and comes looking for him at the station. Another train is shown leaving hauled by H class No. 24304. The signals are MACL. The ending is a happy one after the hero agrees to take the heroine back after her pleadings and pulls her aboard the moving train. Background song is Yaad sada rakhna yeh kahani.
Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai 1961 (B/W) To prove that his love is true, Dev Anand jumps from the running train only to land on top of a car where he croons the title song while Asha Parekh stands at the door of the Up Darjeeling Mail. At the end of the trip they arrive at what is shown to be 'Neelgaon' but appears to be Kurseong.
Jab Yaad Kisi ki Aati Hai 1967 Dharmendra is an assistant/fireman on a narrow gauge branch line which is actually the famous Neral - Matheran railway and the locomotive used here is MLR 739. There are other still shots of a narrow gauge unidentified but presumably Central Railway locomotive in close up shots when the driver and Dharmendra are in conversation. In the early part of the film, there is plentiful footage of this MLR locomotive while it was still working.
Jagriti 1954 (B/W) Ajay, a village truant is sent to a boarding school in the city where he meets the reformist teacher who transforms his life and makes him feel responsible for his actions. The journey from the village to the city is depicted by a distant shot of a train at speed. Later when the teacher, played by Abhi Bhattacharya, takes his students on a cross-country tour by rail, the song Aao bacchon tumhen dikhayen has many close and distant shots of pre-war locomotives on broad and narrow gauge.
Jalsaghar 1958 (B/W Bangla) This film was also released as 'The Music Room' outside India. Another masterpiece by Satyajit Ray who I think must also be a railway fan. No-one else could use the sound of a distant loco whistle so effectively to indicate arrival or departure of a character, notably in the 'Apu trilogy' and 'The Music Room'. (Contributed by Geoff Todd.)
Jawab 1942 (B/W) This vintage film has Kanan Devi singing 'Toofan Mail' in the background whilst a Bengal Nagpur Railway tank locomotive is shown hauling the Mail train.
Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan 1968 (Hindi) Sanjay (the late Rajendra Kumar) is a tourist guide in Darjeeling. He meets Priya Khanna (Saira banu) and they fall in love with each other. When she receives word that her father has been arrested, she has to leave for Calcutta urgently. Sanjay drops her off at the airport, driving a jeep. During that drive, by the Darjeeling railway, an NFR goods train can be seen. When Sanjay returns from Baghdogra airport, during the song "Kaun Hai Jo Sapno Mein Aaya" (see YouTube link) the straight narrow gauge line can be seen next to the road for about 40 seconds. (Identification? Thought to be the SGUG-Sukna stretch.) (Contributed by Swaroop Bose.)
Joi Baba Felunath 1979 (Bangla) The story in this film is situated in Varanasi and there's a sequence where someone is told to go to Varanasi Station to receive relatives coming from Calcutta to attend the family Durga Puja. He is told to 'attend' 5 UP Punjab Mail at 0900 and 9 UP Doon Express at 1000hrs on two successive mornings. (Contributed by Bhaskar Roy.)
Julie 1975 This is a story of an Anglo Indian family living at Shoranur. The father played by Om Prakash is a goods driver while Julie is the eldest daughter who falls in love with a Hindu boy who is visiting his family. There are several scenes depicting AWC, HPS WG & WP class at Shoranur station, yard, roundhouse etc. In a funny scene, a local shopkeeper misbehaves with Julie and is promptly slapped back by her. At this time, a locomotive is showing blowing down to depict the cooling off of the shopkeeper's pent-up feelings.
Kala Bazaar 1960 Dev Anand the hero is sitting on the lower berth in a First Class coupe and on the bunk above him is her heartthrob Waheeda Rehman. But her mom is also present on the lower berth across Dev. He sings Upar wala jaan kar bhi anjaan hai, Apni to har aah ek toofan hai, which is bhajan for the mother and a love plea for the daughter. There are several musical (not real) steam whistles in the song.
Kanchenjungha 1962 (B/W Bangla) The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway narrow gauge steam train has been depicted. (Contributed by Bhaskar Roy.)
Kapurush 1965 (B/W Bangla) The film Kapurush has a final shot in a station in North Bengal where Soumitra Chatterjee waits for a train to go to his brother's place after his car breaks down. (Contributed by Ritadhi Chakravarti.)
Kati Patang 1970 Madhu's marriage is arranged against her wishes and she decides to run away after her father dies from the shock of learning it. Asha Parekh boards a train where she meets her childhood friend who is now widowed. During the night the train meets an accident. These are stock shots of a foreign train as is evident from the white livery of the train. The scene of the train crashing is done with models.
Kim 1950/1984 This Rudyard Kipling's story has been made into a feature film as well as television film. Much of the location filming is in India and it includes several scenes of trains and stations on metre and narrow gauge trains. (Contributed by Warren Miller.)
Kitaab 1977 Gulzar is one of the producer director (amidst other talents) whose films nearly always have trains, stations etc. and they are depicted as real as they can get. This film is about a young boy who lives in the city with his sister and brother-in-law. Tired of the constant fighting between the husband and wife, he decides to run away from their home back to his mother who lives in the village. Without any money, he boards a train but when the ticket examiner chases him out, he takes the refuge of the tender of the WG locomotive hauling the train. The driver who catches him takes pity on him agrees to take him to his destination. The remaining movie is about the boy's adventures on the WG 8399/8585 of Kalyan shed, stations etc. until he is reunited with his mother in the end. There are very few directorial errors if any and the train sequences are shot very realistically. While the driver Rashid sings Dhanno ki aankhon mein in praise of his sweetheart, his assistant and fireman Raghu takes over the full control of the engine, watching signals etc. There is a flat wagon just behind the engine carrying a bonnet style bus on it. Another song Janam se banjara hoon bandhu towards the end of the film features Second Class Sitting interiors and a brief glimpse of a WG locomotive. Dr. Sriram Lagoo playing a beggar sings on the train with the boy accompanying him.
Love in Simla 1960 (B/W) Joy Mukerjee is coming to Simla to meet his would-be bride and is reminiscing her with the song Dil tham chale in the Kalka - Simla train hauled by a ZF tank engine. At the end of the film, as he returns back with the bride, the song repeats. Barog station can be seen here.
Main Hoon Na 2004 It features Shah Rukh Khan arriving at Darjeeling with a B class glimpsed though the steam, but the scene is so brief you feel they needn't have bothered! (Contributed by Warren Miller.)
Manthan 1976 On the posters of the film I have seen Girish Karnad, the protagonist in the film getting off a steam hauled metre gauge train. More details invited.
Mera Naam Joker 1970 The joker Raju as a child goes to an Ooty boarding school. While most children are boarders and leave for home during summer holidays, Raju gets left behind as he is a local. There are excellent scenes in the early part of the film of this school train leaving Ooty and arriving back with noisy singing kids. You can also see the children waving the English St. George's flag.
Mere Apne 1971 Another Gulzar film. In the beginning of the film, Anandi played by Meena Kumari is being brought to the city to do the housework by a person who claims to be her relative. A WP hauled train at dusk depicts this while the credits roll in between.
Mere Humsafar 1970 A boy and a girl began the journey as companions from their humble village to Bombay in search for their fortune. They start off in the back of a truck carrying produce which brings them to the station. A notable song is Mere humsafar mere humsafar. They get inside a four-wheeler covered wagon train hauled by a WG locomotive and have several railway adventures before the boy get left behind when he gets off to fetch water for the girl. AWD 12706 is also seen hauling a goods train.
Mere Huzoor 1968 Jeetendra meets his soul mate Mala Sinha in a train. The lady is wearing a veil and the poet pleads her to remove it with a song Rukh se zara naqab hata lo mere huzoor. You can also see beautiful wooden first class coach interiors in this song.
Miss Frontier Mail 1936 This film has lot of railway action including an accident scene shot quite convincingly with miniatures considering that it was done in the 1930s! Nadia Hunterwali (Mary Ann Evans) indulges in extensive fist-fights, set to heavy sound effects, and a famous battle alongside her hero Sundar played by Mansoor atop a moving train. She is fighting to clear the name of her father who is accused of murder and to achieve this she hits a lot of guys in a circus-like way, fights, runs like a hurricane and gets the nickname Miss Frontier Mail, the fastest train in India of this time.
Nastik 1954 (B/W) Song Dekh tere sansar ki halat kya ho gayi bhagwan contains footage of overcrowded trains carrying refugees across the border in the post-partition India. (Contributed by Satish Pai.)
Nayak 1966 (B/W Bangla) Throughout this film Uttam Kumar, a film star, and Sharmila Tagore, a journalist, are travelling in the AC Express between Howrah and New Delhi while Uttam Kumar relates his life experiences to Sharmila Tagore. The 1AC and AC CC Coaches, the Dining Car and even the WP locomotive hauling the train have been depicted. The last scene in the film is shot on platform No. 1 of New Delhi Station. (Contributed by Bhaskar Roy.)
Neel Kamal 1968 Waheeda Rehman plays the lead female character that suffers from sleepwalking. In the beginning of the film, she is in a waiting room with a group when she wanders off into the path of the incoming train. At the helm of the train is a WP pacific but things are brought under control by the Hero Manoj Kumar before a mishap take place.
Nilgiri Express 1969 (Tamil) In this Tamil movie with probably Jaishankar in the lead, the train depicted was hauled by WP engine (contributed by Santosh).
Northwest Frontier 1959 (released as Flame Over India in USA) Set in north-western India at the beginning of 20th century, this story is about desperate tribal Muslim rebels who are out to kill the last scion of the Hindu ruler. Accompanying the prince is his governess Catherine Wyatt played by Lauren Bacall. Kenneth More is a British officer who must aid the escape of a prince from a fort besieged by the rebels. This he does by means of a decrepit steam train, with a handful of western passengers on board amongst who is a half-bred journalist who sympathizes with the rebels. This is fast over the edge of the seat suspense action by the minute without any use of high-tech stuff. The main railway tracks depicted are 2'6" but you see an occasional glimpse of metre gauge and broad gauge too. There is a station shown called Bhiwandipura that is probably fictitious. In beginning of the film, the refugee train out of the fort is hauled by an O class 4-4-0 engine. The main engine however is a 0-6-0 yard switcher that has no number plates but carries an 'Empress of India' plate and is fondly referred as Victoria! The broad gauge yard switcher is featured in the entire movie as hauling the train to take the prince to safety from rebels. (Contributed by Walter Haan.)
Pachai Vilakku 1964 (Tamil) The story revolved round an engine driver played by Sivaji Ganesan. Sri Nagesh played the comedian fireman. It featured a few engines from Basin Bridge loco shed at Madras. (Contributed by Swamy Nathan.)
Pakeezah 1971 Meena Kumari who plays a Nautch Girl in the film gets her dress entangled in the points and faints on the track at the sight of a steam engine approaching. She is rescued and the hero Raj Kumar carries her to his first class compartment (old Wooden stock), and falls in love with her feet and leaves her a note, Yeh paun bahut sundar hain, zameen pe mat rakhiega maile ho jayenge. She later does a mujra Chalte chalte yunhi koi mil gaya tha which has several wailing whistles of a steam engine in the night. Whenever Pakeezah hears the whistle from her house she reminisces about her admirer.
Parineeta 2005 The song scene is featuring the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is excellent. The train is shown running through the 'Terai' section and then arriving at Sukna which is masquerading as Darjeeling, but it's such a great song that errors like that are easily forgiven. (Contributed by Warren Miller.)
Parwana 1969 There is no steam action per se in this film but the story is themed on a crime using train travel on Howrah Mail via Nagpur as a alibi and there is considerable footage of the era so it would be engaging to any railfan. (Contributed by Uttam Padukone.)
Pather Panchali 1955 (B/W Bangla) This was Satyajit Ray's debut film and first amongst the Apu trilogy. There are iconic train sequences showing a chugging train coming from a distance and leaving behind a trail of thick black smoke while the children Apu and Durga, much like loyal rail-fans, scamper through the fields to catch a glimpse of the train. The line depicted here was the Ahmadpur-Katwa narrow gauge section of Eastern Railway. (Contributed by Bhaskar Roy.)
Pavitra Papi 1970 Parikshit Sahni plays the lead and is seen walking absent mindedly along the track after losing his job in the early part of the film when a passenger hauled by WP class No. 7602 comes on the same line and he is saved by a passerby just in nick of time. Later when his sweetheart Tanuja is married elsewhere, he blesses her with the song Teri dunia se hoke majboor chala and he sees her and the bridegroom off to the station.
Professor 1962 Shammi Kapoor disguises as an old man to find the job of a tuitor but finds it more rewarding when he falls in with Kalpana who is the student. Song Main chali main chali is partially shot on the Darjeeling train. There is more steam footage later when Professor accompanies the Madam and his sweetheart to Bombay and WP hauled trains are shown to depict each trip.
Pudhu Kavithai 1982 (Tamil) Meaning 'New poetry', this is one of earlier hits of Rajnikanth. The climax sequence is picturised on a metre gauge steam passenger. As per the story it is the Banglore - Mysore line, but there was very little greenery in the scenes and looked more like the Madurai - Teni route. The very last frame where the hero and heroine unite on a small tidy station, with the train moving away in the background, is simply superb. The coaches are all old unreserved second class sitting stock, and the loco looked like a YP. There is another frame in this sequence shot from the hilltop with the train down at a distance. Overall the train sequence looked very authentic and nicely captured. (Contributed by N Manohar.)
Pyasaa 1957 (B/W) Vijay played by Guru Dutt is an idealistic poet who is unable to find a job despite a university degree. His college sweetheart Mala Sinha ditches him for a wealthy publisher and his brothers turn him out of the house. He was sleeping on a bench on the sidewalk and as he tries to get some water out of a dry tap to quench his thirst, Mala Sinha drives by and spots him. At this moment a Calcutta Port Trust steam train with a tank engine comes between their view and she leaves. In the second half of the film, Vijay is totally disillusioned with everything and tries to commit suicide under a fast moving train. He leaves his coat with a shivering beggar who realizes what he is up to and follows him on to the track. The beggar is caught in a switch and gets killed inadvertently but since he is wearing the coat of the poet, everyone thinks the poet died. This night scene with extensive use of backlighting and long shadows is shot very well.
Railway Platform 1955 (B/W) Even though the story of this film is entirely railway oriented and much of it has been shot on an actual Railway Platform, there is only a whistle or two and a few whiffs of smokes here and there along with some stock movement but there isn't any depiction of locomotives per se. However, it is a great reminder of what railway travel used to be in a different age as it is a story of passengers of a train marooned on a platform of an obscure station when the track up ahead is breeched by flash flood. As the title song plays along with credits at the beginning of the film, the camera shows the view from the last coach as the train moves along. (Contributed by Satish Pai.)
Raincoat 2004 There is a scene in the beginning where the hero Ajay Devgan takes a steam hauled train purportedly from Bhagalpur to Calcutta. Not sure if this was achieved by just using stock footage or if steam locomotive was organised for this shoot. (Contributed by Bharat S Rao.)
Rang De Basanti 2006 Features one of the recently revived WP 7161 in sepia toned scenes in which an English filmmaker is shown as contemplating her film on Indian freedom fighters.
Ram aur Shyam 1967 Twins separate when they are young, one grows rich and the other poor and they are mixed up as adults played by Dilip Kumar. After Shyam has been living at Ram's house for some time, the evil brother in law Pran exposes him at birthday party. Shyam is accused of killing Ram with the intent of grabbing his wealth and jailed. He escapes from the jail, hops on a broad gauge train at a station, which soon turns into a metre gauge train and after hanging on the side for a while, finally he jumps off from a viaduct to his freedom.
Ram Teri Ganga Maili 1985 The female lead Ganga played by Mandakini begins her epic journey from the mountains to Calcutta just like the river Ganges. With her is her newborn child and when she gets off the train to give him some water, the train leaves without her. There is night scene of a WG hauled train with MACL signaling and a deserted platform at night.
Sadma 1983 This remake of a Tamil film is about a young woman who is left with the sense of a five year old after a road accident. She lands into a brothel in Madras from where she is rescued by an Ooty schoolteacher played by Kamal Hassan. He brings her home and nurses her back to normal. This poignant film has several scenes of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway in the Conoor area and a particularly memorable one is at the end as the Sridevi leaves by train on a very rainy afternoon. The song Ae zindagi gale laga le is notable.
Salaam Bombay 1988 In the early part of the film the young boy Krishna who plays lead is seen arriving at Bombay (what appears to be Sealdah but could be someplace else too) by a WG hauled train.
Sambandh 1969 Deb Mukherjee sings the hit song Chal akela chal akela chala akela, tera mela peeche chuta rahee chal akela in a jeep whilst DHR train keeps the pace. In the same film Deb Mukherjee is travelling with his ailing mother when the WP blows a whistle and the mother breathes her last in the train.
Shatranj 1969 Starring Waheeda Rehman and Rajendra Kumar. Both of them are Indian spies. The railway scenes were shot in Goa. I think the hero tries to blow up the villain's train fully aware that his father is on the same train.
Shola Aur Shabnam 1961 (B/W) The story is about childhood love of a boy and girl whose parents work for the railway at Mysore and they spend their childhood playing on the station, yards etc. There is lots of metre gauge action in the early part of the film until the girl's father is transferred elsewhere and the two friends get estranged.
Sholay 1975 This Indianised version of a western flick in the mid seventies changed the equations of Indian Cinema forever. Jai and Veeru are two small time thieves who are roped by an Inspector who sees them capable of overturning the empire of dreaded dacoit Gabbar Singh. There are several railway sequences in the film. Two of these show the inspector and a jailor arriving at a rural station aboard a YP hauled train. The most famous one of course is of the dacoits trying to hijack a goods train hauled by H/4 class No. 026472. Jai and Veeru are prisoners of inspector Sanjeev Kumar and after he agrees to let them help him, Jai and inspector take charge of the fighting from the guard's van while Veeru mans the engine and runs its through the barrier laid on the rails by dacoits. There is also the talkative tonga driver Basanti played by Hema Malini. Veeru charms her by singing Koi hasina jab rooth jaati hai while YP hauled passenger of South Central Railway runs past in the background.
Shor 1972 Nanda is killed by a Western Railway's AWD class locomotive hauled goods train in the early part of film while she is trying to save her son who has wandered on to the tracks. Very poorly shot sequence that lay little emphasis on authenticity and more on blood and gore. The train in the scene hardly looks to be moving and one cannot fathom why the driver of the train cannot see the boy on a very straight and level track in the siding. Later in the film the father of the boy Manoj Kumar is trying to arrange funds for his boy's treatment and visits his parents in the village to ask for a loan. Scenes of a WP hauled train at speed depict this trip to the village and back to the city.
Sonar Kella 1974 (Bengali) Sonar Kella meaning 'The Golden Fortress', is a film by Satyajit Ray which starred Soumitra Chatterji. This film is imprinted on my memory because of its railway journey and especially for its location shots on the metre gauge branch from Jodhpur to Pokaran, before it was extended to Jaisalmer. The travellers in the film completed their journeys by camel. (Contributed by Geoff Todd.) one of the most fascinating shots is where Feluda and company attempt to stop a train in the middle of the desert after their car gets a flat tire. The scene has a steam engine hauled passenger train belching thick black smoke through the desert horizon with Feluda and others on camels. Satyajit Ray mentioned details of shooting this scene in his book, 'Ekei Boley Shooting' (the book has been translated into English) where he discusses the difficulties involved while shooting this scene. Ray, also mentions that he would probably have abandoned Sonar Kella if this scene could not have been shot the way it is. (Contributed by Ritadhi Chakravarti.) Also in this film, the Toofan Express is seen departing Howrah at 0935 from Platform No. 9 with its customary WAM-2 loco. It reaches CNB next day morning from where the thriller-writer Jatayu entrains and meets Feluda. Along the further journey, the Delhi - Jaipur, Jaipur - Jodhpur and Jodhpur - Jaiselmer meter gage steam trains can be seen. One of the locomotives can be seen sporting the name 'Queen of the Desert'. Undoubtedly this movie is a rail-fan's treat. (Contributed by Bhaskar Roy.)
Teesari Kasam 1964(B/W) Hiraman is a poor bullock cart driver falls in love with a theatre actress whom he has been assigned to take to the village fair. The inevitable happens and Heerabai played by Waheeda Rehman has to leave at the end when Raj Kapoor comes to see her off at Aswali station desperately racing his cart. Central Railway's WG 8751 brings the train into the station and leaves after a short stop.
Teesari Manzil 1966 This film has all the masala of Indian Cinema. There is journey to Mussoorie by train, boy meets girl, love blossoms, romance, misunderstanding, villain and finally reunion. The film starts from a scene at New Delhi station ticket window. A WP and a WG (with a bicycle on the buffer beam) on platform with Ajmeri gate bridge in background. After some comic relief during the day journey, the arrival at Dehradun station can be seen. After the bad guy dies, and to show the couple's reunion and return to Delhi there is a shot of WG locomotive hauled train at the end that quickly turns into a Dehradun CWD 12507 hauling wooden non-bogie stock. You can also see the interiors of a spacious wooden first class carriage.
Tuj Maji Ranee 1970s (Marathi Comedy) This film has Amol Palekar and Jayshree T. in the lead. In a funny situation the couple starts planning for their new home, which leads to an argument about the paint scheme. Jayshree T. being on the losing end threatens suicide. So she sleeps on the tracks never expecting the train to appear. The train was WP hauled and the location was Kolhapur.
Toofan Mail 1934 (B/W) Comments invited.
Return of Toofan Mail 1942 (B/W) Comments invited.
The Burning Train 1980 Vinod Khanna and Dharmendra are childhood friend and Vinod dreams of making the fastest train in India. As children and young adults they sing, play and frolic around train and the Rail Transport Museum (now NRM) with their girl friends. There are sights of steam in the yard and the PSMT working in the rail museum in its original livery.
The Jewel in the Crown 1984 (TV mini series) Throughout the series, especially in the later part there are many small scenes on stations sometimes depicting steam when someone is shown arriving or departing. Toward the end, when the entourage is returning from Mirat Cantt., there is an extended scene at the station followed by the train on the run whose motive power turns from MAWD to YG. The insurgents looking for Ahmed Kasim stop the train by tying a cow to the rails.
The Train 1970 Nanda plays a conwoman who is forced by her stepbrother to regularly rob innocent passengers on trains out of Bombay VT. Rajesh Khanna is the police inspector assigned to catch her. There is plenty of electric and steam action, chasing train by road, shots of stations and landscape of the ghat section. You can see how Nasik Road and Igatpuri stations looked three decades ago. There are WPs and WGs all around and the switchover from electric to steam at Igatpuri. In the climax dhishum-dhishum scene, there is a WP 7197 rolling by as the hero and the villain try to get each other.
Train to Pakistan 1998 This film is about the dreadful time of India Pakistan partition and is based on a novel by Kushwant Singh by the same name. It includes numerous steam scenes (mostly long shots of trains on bridges etc) and the finale is an attempt to attack a refugee train. The railways scenes are well done, but are a mix on broad and metre gauge settings. The actual train seen is metre gauge (the locomotive is a YG class I think), but some of the scenes in which an ambush of a train to Pakistan is being set are clearly at a location with broad gauge track. The editing is clever enough to ensure that the casual viewer would not really notice this. The film closes with a surprising effective long distance model shot of a (model) train steaming away to the horizon. (Contributed by Warren Miller.)
Usne Kaha Tha 1960 (B/W) Nandu and Kamli love each other but are unable to marry due to quirks of fate. Nandu joins the army and Kamli is the wife of the officer under whom Nandu will be serving. When the platoon is leaving for the war, the scene at Ambala Cantt. Station depicts steam locomotives as well as the following song Jaane waale siphai se pucho is picturised aboard a train. There are two other scenes depicting steam train in the film earlier when Kamli's family leaves Nandu's town when they are young and later when Nandu leaves to join the army.
Vidhaata 1982 The movie is about two characters that start off as locomotive driver and fireman but go on to go very different ways. Film starts with both arguing whether fate is more powerful that the will of a man. They sing Haathon ki chand lakiron ka aboard the WG hauling goods. Funnily enough, the song begins and ends with metre gauge YG locomotive hauling tank wagons! There are other scenes depicting steam and notable amongst them is when the prematurely born grandson of the fireman is carried to the hospital aboard the cab of WG 8892 with the firebox providing the warmth.
Waqt 1965 This one is about a family separating due to sheer misfortune and meeting again after many years by an equally interesting quirk of fate. After the separation the patriarch of the family Balraj Sahni is implicated in a murder and gets a life term. After coming out of the prison he starts looking for his family. A WP hauled train shows this journey to Delhi in his search for family. A few moments later, the youngest son who lives with the mother is shown moving to Bombay in search of a job and there is a rare scene of WP hauled Bombay Deluxe arriving at Bombay Central. You can also see old wooden first class, chair car, and third class coaches. Watch out for the line of taxis just outside the station even in those days. (Contributed by Capt. J.D. Singh.)
Woh Kaun Thi? 1964 (B/W) Sadhna who is suspected to be a ghost by her husband Manoj Kumar is asked to leave home. Dejected, she boards a train and a scene of a SPS 4-4-0 locomotive hauled passenger train follows.
Yaadon Ki Zanzeer 1984 Two brothers are separated at childhood and one becomes a gangster while the other is a police officer. Sunil Dutt is chasing an enemy on the train that his police officer brother Shashi Kapoor is escorting. This is a YD locomotive hauled train in the Braganza ghats near Castle Rock. Also seen is also a metre gauge SLR with windows at the guard's end for him to look back without craning his neck outside. There is wonderful scenery all around and at the end of the sequence, Dudhsagar falls are in view. Though you might want to chuckle at the scene when Sunil Dutt chases the moving train on foot while it negotiates the ghat section.
Yatra 1986-7 (TV Series) This television series was created by Shyam Benegal, which had Om Puri in lead and for background commentary. Nearly all episodes had plenty of steam footage on broad and metre gauge all over India.
Yeh Gulistan Hamara 1972 This film is set in the Northeast India which is rare for Hindi movies. This has a shot of a train on the Tipong line for a minute or so in the middle of the movie. It shows a B class loco, many open trucks carrying passengers (or rather, colliery workers) and a skeletal van with benches for important passengers. Trivia: There were complaints after the film was released so it has a disclaimer stating that 'the film is not supposed to represent the Nagas or any other community'. (Contributed by Ajai Banerji.)
Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai 1981 The story is based in Ooty. Padmini Kolhapure is a poor girl who pretends to be rich to win over lover boy Rishi Kapoor. When the secret is revealed, she tries to run away from him, sitting on top of the lead carriage of the down train. The boy follows her and serenades her back with Hoga tumse pyaraa kaun he kanchi on top of the train before it reaches Mettupalayam.
Ziddi 1964 Joy Mukherji is daydreaming about his sweetheart in a Nilgiri Railway coach while a thief tries to run off with his suitcase. The thief jumps off the train and the hero gives him a chase.