Movies and Travel… is there a connection?
Hindi songs filming locations and vacations…is there a link between the two?
What do you think? The answer is an resounding Yes – it’s true!
Did you ever feel, after watching a magnificently shot sequence in a particular country or location, that – “Wow, I have to go to this place!” or “What – Is this place for real?” Moreover, if you are an Indian or Bollywood films fan, you may even have been to one of these exotic locations to experience and live the moment that’s been aesthetically captured by the cinematographers, in their unique art form.
Maybe you are still apprehensive about this whole thing – so for now, let’s take a step back in time, to understand the awe that foreign locations has created within each of us – sometimes knowingly, sometimes unknowingly!
We will try back-tracking from the Black & While Hindi Films, to Eastman Color and then to the present day, and will see if there’s any connection between travel and movies. While the shooting location choices of directors have been quite varied, let’s start with a pop quiz…….
Do you know what was one of the first Hindi movies to feature a Foreign location? (We specifically say Foreign, as even today for many Indians – Foreign and Foreigners represent overseas locations and people from outside India.
The answer is Naaz – released in the year 1954, apparently being the first Hindi movie to be shot abroad i.e. England & Egypt! And the 1960’s started a trend of filming some major sequences abroad.
For example, the choice of destinations ranged from Venice, Paris & Switzerland in Raj Kapoor’s magnum opus Sangam (1964) to Lebanon & Japan in the spy thriller Dharmendra classic Ankhen released in 1968.
Dev Anand’s 1971 classic Hare Rama Hare Krishna considered ahead of its time, was shot extensively in Nepal, whereas his Des Pardes filming happened in London.
“An evening in Paris” featuring Sharmila Tagore and Shammi Kapoor in their prime, was completely and obviously shot through out France.
Since then, over the years, Indians living in India and also abroad have been totally captivated by the Hindi films and song sequences filmed outside India – almost giving it a dream-like feeling. Some of you could still remember watching “An Evening in Paris” on an outdoor projector screen (similar to one shown in the movie, Swades prior to the song “ye taara vo taara”) during the 10-days Ganesha Festival in Mumbai and being totally besotted. Such projections took the viewer to a different world with different people all together (almost like a dream!).
Indian audiences have many a times stepped into a theater (aka cinema hall) to just watch these outdoor filming locations abroad, to escape from their daily grind, and adored it. Slowly, films brought about a sort of revolution in the ways Indians chose their next vacation destination.
So much so, that people started “dreaming” and “saving” money for experiencing these locations.
Filming locations started getting more exotic by the day, however it was not until the mid-80’s and early 90’s that one country really stood apart from the rest, as the ultimate vacation choice for Indians.
And, that was Switzerland! It became the first and ultimate choice for vacationers, including honeymooners!
The reason was the Hindi movie “Chandni” directed by Yash Chopra. “Chandni” had a dream sequence shot in Switzerland. The most captivating of it all, was a song featuring the Shiv-Hari composition “Tere Mere Hoton Par” that had Sridevi and Rishi Kapoor, swaying to the sheer luscious backdrop of snow-capped Swiss Mountains, lush green meadows & the country side. The movie is an all-time favorite with Bollywood cinema lovers and will always remain a landmark in the chronology of Yash Chopra films, the highlight being the song filmed in Switzerland. However, this was just the beginning….
The best was yet to arrive, and how it did……in the year “1995”
DDLJ as it’s popularly known, was the movie. “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge” changed the way Indians romanced, and made them go beyond the mall-roads of popular hill stations in India to Switzerland, and other locations in Europe. Die-Hard romantics went weak in their knees after watching Shah Rukh Khan & Kajol, two complete strangers from diverse backgrounds meet and fall in love in Switzerland!
After that, there was no looking back. Travel to Switzerland took off big time!
Indian films have been shot extensively in England primarily London, USA, Switzerland, Singapore, Dubai, which are the most popular choices.
In recent times, Hindi and regional film directors / producers have gone to even many exotic locations such as Dublin (Tiger Zinda Hai), South Africa (M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story, Cocktail, Ghajini), Peru (Endhiran in Tamil or dubbed as Robot in Hindi), Bolivia (Telugu film “Sarrainodu”), Mauritius (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Go Goa Gone), Afghanistan (Khuda Gawah), Pakistan-Russia-Morocco-Latvia-Somalia-etc. (Agent Vinod), Egypt (Singh is King, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam), Poland (Fanaa), Hungary (Raabta), Jordan (Krishh 3, Munna Michael), Turkey (Guru, Dil Dhadakne Do), New Zealand (Kaho Na Pyar Hai), USA & Italy (Dostana), Cuba (Ek Tha Tiger), Czech Republic (Rockstar, Bang Bang), Australia (Dil Chahta Hai, Salaam Namaste) to name only a few.
And, there has been a “marked” impact on inbound tourism from India for these countries after the release of such movies.
“Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” is only one such brilliant example of how Indians flocked to Spain after the show casing of this beautiful country in the road trip classic of 2011, directed by Zoya Akhtar!
Bollywood Movies are deep-rooted into the Indian value system, and the destinations picturised have always been playing a major role in outbound tourism. And, it’s not just the locations abroad, even destinations within India have been favored to popularization by movies. We have travelers who visit Kashmir to dance and sing to “Yahoo… Koi mujhe Junglee Kahe” to “Katiyaan Karoon” in Rockstar, “Subhan Allah” in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani shot in Buran Ghati – Himachal Pradesh, to “Daawat – E – Isqh” in Hyderabad and Lucknow.
This inspiration, to choose the next travel destination does not come just from the Hindi movies – it extends much beyond, to Hollywood Movies (The James Bond Island in Phuket, Thailand), TV Series shooting locations (example being Ireland & Iceland – Game of Thrones, Thor etc.), Jeju Island in South Korea (Korean TV drama) etc. these places are experiencing a huge surge in tourism due to major fan following, who truly want to experience firsthand – what their favorite film stars experience while filming there.
And not to mention, after the Hollywood success of – “Slumdog Millionaire”, the Dharavi slum tours in Mumbai became popular not just with foreigners, but also Indians who never had seen Mumbai. Tourists who avoided Mumbai altogether in their Indian itinerary, flocked to this maximum city in the droves!
Going back to the immensely popular Indian movie from the year 1995 – “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge”, search the web and you will find scores of images with Indian couples posing with the backdrop of DDLJ movie poster in Mount Titlis in Switzerland! No wonder a 350 KG statue of Yash Chopra, the “King of Romance” now stands in the Kurssaal Garden in the central Swiss town of Interlaken, canton Bern!
We truly believe that we, The Filmy Couple are not the only ones who love to Sing, Dance, Act around the world.
Do you as well? Please let us know your thoughts about this post by dropping a comment