How does it feel to see those familiar lawns, walls, canteens and classrooms of your college on silver screens? Perhaps, it is not something new for a Delhi University kid, or is it?

In contemporary times, nothing has been left un-bollywoodised. From ambitious “apna time aayega” (my time will come) posters on the walls of our rooms to those trying-to-be-quirky truck drivers bearing “has mat pagli pyaar ho jaega” (don’t smile or I’ll fall in love with you) at the back of their vehicles to finding equal proportions in meme culture, the Bollywood fever has swept over the entire array. In such a culture, how could premier institutions like Delhi University be left untouched by bolly-baptization?

Heaving with overwhelm, jittering with anxiety not without a truckload of anticipation – this is a common description of any first-year student, especially those who make it to the “coveted” corners of DU. The Bollywood bandwagon has seeped so much into the college culture that even these nervous “facchas” are treated to Bollywood-themed fresher’s parties followed by the onslaught of Instagram reels documenting the whole event.

A scene from the film Fukrey (2013) shot in Miranda House,  Image Credits: Celluloid: The Film Society of Miranda House

Why is the college trope so famous?

There seems to be a sort of symbiotic relationship between college and Bollywood, which has of course, found its nexus in the glamorisation of college life. From college friendships to college romance, the trope of college life has been reproduced to an extent that now it seems oversaturated. Yet, it is one of the most popular genres, earning a bloating box-office collection everytime. From Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) to Rang De Basanti (2006) to 3 Idiots (2009) and more recently Chhichhore (2019), the list goes on. The changing demography of the target audience has allowed film industries to extract their careers out of our nostalgia. We often yearn for the bygone days and certainly, the college years occupy one of our fondest memories. After all, for many of us, college is the time when we experience most of our ‘firsts’ – crushes, heartbreaks, fights, and countless other memorable experiences. And through these films, these eccentricities of college life we get to experience again. 

A scene from the film Half Girlfriend (2017) shot in St. Stephen’s College,   Image Credits: The Times of India

The Politics of “Privileged” Colleges

We all love and undeniably feel a sense of pride seeing the cameo of our colleges in our most cherished films. But why do some DU colleges make it to the screens while some do not? The Hinduite Jordan and the Stephanian Heer became the college Romeo-Juliet romance. The “itni si chutney me do samose khau mai?” (how do I eat two samosas in so little chutney) graffiti on Hindu canteen’s wall from the same film Rockstar, Fukrey in Miranda House, Dil Dosti Etc in Hindu College, DevD and Band Baja Baarat in Hansraj and Half Girlfriend in St. Stephen’s College. The Ananya-Panday-effect of these North Campus colleges is very evident in the Bollywood milieu of nepotism. For filmmakers, shooting in DU mainly means shooting in the North Campus. The number of shoots in North Campus particularly has also increased in the past few years, from 3-4 shoots to 10-12 shoots per year, possibly because of easy permissions. These shoots in North Campus catch the fancy of many students and thus continue to uphold the existing hierarchy of colleges in Delhi University. According to an interview conducted by The Times of India in 2018, Ravi Sarin who was a part of the shooting of the film ‘Mom’ at SRCC said, “It’s the architecture of the colleges of North Campus that attracts filmmakers.” The charming red brick buildings of North Campus colleges are a major attraction to the filmmakers. It provides a sense of historicity to the location, an amalgamation of the new and the old, past and present. 

A scene from the film  Raazi (2018) shot in Miranda House,  Image Credits: The Times of India

The Fallacy of Masti ki Paathshala 

Common expectation told to us by elders and popular media often fosters a fallacy premised upon hopes for better days in college, better life, better opportunities and better friendships. The American threesome of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll is replicated in Bollywood as maal, masti and mohabbat (substance, fun and love). However, this alliteration fails to capture the unglorified realities of DU- hectic timetables, strict professors, boring lectures, stifling competition and everyday metro hustles. Colleges in Bollywood are nothing less than any theme park that has to sustain the assortment of fake paraphernalia of coolness, fun, richness, style and other cliched fancy adjectives. Only if college life was a Dharma Production you can expect to find an SRK-type boyfriend or a hot professor like in Main Hoon Na. In reality, there will be no falling in love with violin playing in the background, wind brushing past the hair and romantic slow-mo moments. Neither, in fact hardly our yaad-karegi-duniya-tera-mera-afsana (the world will remember our story) kind of friendships will permeate our nine-to-five reality. Will we even care for our lost Rancho inhabiting some far-off part of Ladakh after 10 years? In times when everyone seems to be guilty of repeatedly postponing Goa plans until it dies on a vine, it’s a bitter realisation that we all shall be made Arjuns uttering Moshi Moshi to a Japanese client on a road trip to Spain with friends (if at all the trip transcends the precincts of our plannings). 

A dialogue turned meme from the film Rockstar (2011),  Image Credits: Indian Meme Template

Hmm, so we can say, our much loved DU (and colleges in general) have had its own multiplicity of moments – as a main character, as a side-kick, as a decorative prop (like female characters in KJO films), as a misrepresented character (like LGBTQ characters in Bollywood) and sometimes as an anti-hero (like those in Anurag Kashyap’s films). But in everything, maybe DU is our Geet from Jab We Met who does not shy away from claiming “Mai apni favourite hoon”

Feature Image Credits: ScoopWhoop

Read Also: Bollywood Imitates Life and Vice-Versa

Samra Iqbal

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Bollywood has its own share of glamorizing the college life in our minds. The campus, the college students, the song and dance routine – are some regular contents of a college based Bollywood movie. In fact, Bollywood has a handful of directors who are pass-outs from Delhi University and they often keep coming back to the memory lanes of the University campus to shoot their movies.

Imtiaz Ali, Maneesh Sharma, Parvin Dabas have all returned to their respective alumnus to shoot the college scenes for their big ventures.

Here are five movies which feature Delhi University colleges –

1. Rockstar

Imtiaz Ali directed and Ranbir Kapoor starrer super hit movie Rockstar was shot in Hindu College and St. Stephen’s College. Ranbir played the character of Janardhan Jhakar, the Jat boy from Hindu College who falls for the beautiful Stephanian Heer Kaul ( Nargis Fakhri).

Rockstar was shot extensively in the campus during the summer break of 2011.


2. Fukrey

2013’s sleeper hit Fukrey features Delhi University’s Miranda House College. The movie was supposedly going to be shot in Shri Ram College of Commerce but ended up getting shot in Miranda House instead. However, the movie features the women’s college as co-educational institution.




3. Do Dooni Chaar

This family flick had some scenes shot in Kirori Mal College. The fest scene in the college of Rishi Kapoor’s daughter, in the movie was shot in KMC.

do dooni chaar


4. Band Baaja Baaraat

This 2010 blockbuster and Ranveer Singh’s debut film, has one of its popular songs Tarkeebein entirely shot in Hans Raj College. The song captures the campus roads, the college’s boys’ hostel and the classroom. A few shots are also taken in Ramjas College’s gallery.

band baaja baaraat

  1. Akaash Vani

This movie was again shot in St. Stephen’s College. The leads Kartik Tiwari and Nushrat Bharucha played the hostellers-in-love.

akaash vani

These movies are just to name a few while the list goes on!

As a pre-Tempest event, filmmaker Imtiaz Ali came over to Miranda House campus today to meet his fans. Instead of making a back door entry to avoid the huge crowd of female fans, Imtiaz rather chose to walk down the college aisle and made his way into the college auditorium. Imtiaz who was accompanied by his friend from Hindu College was welcomed by a swarm of fans. They literally had to steer through the crowd to make way into the auditorium. “This was a grand welcome not every Hinduite gets the privilege to receive”, he later said.

His visit was organized by the Film Club of the college exclusively for current Miranda House students. Tempest, Miranda House’s fest kicks off tomorrow. The event started off with the students of the Indian Music society singing a medley of songs from his movies. The crowd couldn’t stop cheering when he took out his phone and started making a video of the crowd and the girls singing. Clips of scenes from his movies were shown to cite the offbeat characters the protagonists of his movies have.

Imtiaz started off by asking the audience about the popularity of his movies. Every statement of his was greeted with a round of cheers from the crowd. “Not every Hinduite gets the opportunity to have Miranda girls in such a frame, with all of them cheering. I am overwhelmed to be here today. In fact I have been here before. I came for the dramatics competition during Tempest when I was a student in Hindu College. My heart has always been here. In my college days I used to visit the Hostel gate of the college hoping to enter the college. But today I was welcomed by the college principal herself at the gate”, he said. This was followed by a question-answer session and Imtiaz did not disappoint his fans and answered every question that was thrown at him. Here are some excerpts from the session:

Q.: How did you find the selection of the clips you were shown?
(Scene: Deepika’s character Meera post her wedding realizes that she did a mistake by marrying)
I was intrigued by the scene you showed from Love Aaj Kal. Meera’s behavior in the scene was criticized by a number of people and I’m glad that a girls college has appreciated this scene.

Q: Have you ever dated a Mirandian?
My friend from college is here so I can’t lie in front of you all. Although I tried a number of times but could never succeed in dating one. I used to hang out a lot outside the Miranda House hostel gate. Even the guard knew me by face and I used to get him beedis.

Q: Jordan’s character in the movie Rockstar faced a number of hurdles. What hurdles did you face?
See, in life the choice to be happy or sad lies with you. Nothing should decide your happiness or sadness. You obviously can’t control the situations that life makes you face but the right to be happy or sad is with you. I chose to be on the better side of the fence.

Q: Why Nargis Fakhri in Rockstar?
Because I had not met you girls before.

Q: Give us Ranbir Kapoor’s number (more than a hundred girls, in unison)
981… Well leave it, you guys don’t seem much interested.

Q: What’s your next movie going to be about?
I don’t have a story in my mind yet.

Q: Which movie you didn’t direct but you wish that you did?
Sholay, Junoon, Big Fish.

Q: All your movies have been commercial ones, when will you get into Art House film making?
You make movies on things and the way you relate to life; as you growth up, your style of filmmaking changes. So as I grow old and become more grounded, I too will get into art house film making.

This wasn’t the end of his visit. Anukriti, the Hindi Dramatics of the college put up its street play for Imtiaz. After which he went around the campus, paid a visit to the college hostel to interact with his fans there, and had lunch with a few Miranda House students in the hostel mess. He stayed in the Miranda House campus till evening.


Photo Credits: Sonakshi Pandey