Bollywood's romance with snow-kissed peaks of Switzerland, plush locales of London and balmy evenings of Paris is passé. Punjab is the destination for Bollywood with its sunshine-yellow mustard fields, heritage sites, open spaces and effervescent lifestyle.
While Chandigarh is becoming the nerve-centre, more and more Mumbaiwalas are exploring the areas in and around the city to capture all things Punjabi that reflects in films' scripts and characters too.
Big Bollywood banners and a galaxy of stars is not uncommon to the region now. Recently, films such as Salman Khan's Bodyguard, Shahid Kapur's Mausam, Akshay Kumar's Joker, Ajay Devgn's Son of Sardar and Imran Khan's Mere Brother Ki Dulhan besides others were shot in and around the city.
Interestingly, a crew even came from down south to shoot a film titled Malu Singh in Nabha where a 45-day shooting schedule of the film was completed. Now, could it get any better with Hollywood putting spotlight on Punjab!
Hindustan Times tracks Bollywood's obsession with all things Punjabi. Here are the recent big banner films that were shot in the region.
Yamla Pagla Deewana
Location: Ludhiana at the Rang De Basanti fort.
Star cast: Dharmendra and sons Sunny and Bobby Deol along with Chandigarh girl Kulraj Randhawa.
Local connect: The film's shooting in Punjab in September-November 2010 was a big family reunion for the Deols as the star family has its relatives in Punjab. The film's second half is set in Punjab where Kulraj (the heroine) lives and both the heroes come to impress her brothers and ask for her hand in matrimony.
Location: Baradari Palace Hotel in Patiala, which was shown as Kareena Kapoor's house in the film and the Patiala Railway Station where the climax was shot.
Star cast: Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor.
Local connect: The film, which was shot here in June 2011, chose the location mainly because of the scenic beauty of rural parts of Patiala and the easy management of fans of mainstream stars.
Location: The film was shot over 60 days in Punjab in January 2011 in village Barauli near Gharuan in Punjab.
Star cast: Shahid Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor.
Local connect: The film is directed by versatile actor Pankaj Kapur who hails from Ludhiana. He brought the vivacity of a Punjab village alive in his film where the hero, who belongs to a small village in Ludhiana, becomes a pilot.
Location: A huge set of a circus had been put up in the fields adjoining Morinda in October-November 2011.
Star cast: Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha along with Shreyas Talpade.
Local connect: The film needed rustic locations to shoot some village scenes, so the open green fields, village lifestyle, cattle and the paindu Punjabi flavour of the village provided a perfect backdrop.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Location: Ferozepur, as the film's art team decided that it had the perfect topography and colour to match the requirements of the story. The film was also shot at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala (NIS) where Farhan Akhtar, who plays Milkha in the film, is shown training for the Olympics.
Star cast: Farhan Akhtar and Sonam Kapoor.
Local connect: The film, shot from February-March 2012, is a biopic on legendary Punjabi athlete Milkha Singh who currently resides in Chandigarh and originally hails from Pakistan.
Son of Sardar
Location: Patiala and Chandigarh Railway Station.
Star cast: Ajay Devgn, Sanjay Dutt and Sonakshi Sinha.
Local connect: As the title suggests, Ajay Devgn is seen as a turbaned sardar in the film and Sonakshi plays a Punjabi mutiyaar in the film and so a major part of the film was shot in Punjab from March-April 2012.
Luv Shuv Te Chicken Khurana
Star cast: Kunal Kapoor and Huma Qureshi.
Local connect: India's first food film, shot in Ludhiana from November-December 2011, celebrates the Punjabi joint family system.
Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya
Location: Patiala and Chandigarh.
Star cast: Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D'souza.
Local connect: The story of the film starts in Punjab and moves to Rohtak in Haryana. The title of the film is in Punjabi and most of the songs in the film are Punjabi.
Mere Brother Ki Dulhan
Location: Chandigarh and Patiala.
Star cast: Ali Zafar, Katrina Kaif and Imraan Khan.
Local connect: The marriage scenes were shot in a haveli in Patiala whereas some romantic scenes between the lead characters were shot on the famous geri route in Sector 10, Chandigarh; a scene was also shot at Hotel Khyber in Sector 35.
Dil Bole Hadippa
Location: Fields in Ropar.
Star cast: Shahid Kapur and Rani Mukherji.
Local connect: The title of the film is in Punjabi and narrates the story of a girl who becomes a sardarji to join men's cricket team. Some scenes and songs were shot in Punjab in February 2009.
Jab We Met
Location: Nabha (near Patiala).
Star cast: Shahid Kapur and Kareena Kapoor.
Local connect: A major part of the film, including a song, has been shot in Nabha. The film narrates the story of a feisty Punjabi girl from Bathinda who goes off track when she bumps into a Mumbai businessman in an overnight sleeper to Delhi. The shooting commenced from March 20, 2007.
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Location: Shot at the old heritage buildings in Amritsar, Khalsa College and the Golden Temple.
Star cast: Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma.
Local connect: Shah Rukh Khan essays the character of Surinder Sahni who works in the Punjab Power Department and lives in Amritsar. The film was shot in Amritsar in May 2008.
Other popular films, which were shot in Chandigarh and Punjab, include London Dreams, Sadiyan, Heroes, Singh is Kinng, Namaste London, Rang De Basanti and Veer Zara.