How many times has one seen an exotic location in a film and felt a desire to zoom off there for a holiday? Over the last few years, it has become increasingly common for Indians to holiday in all the beautiful places they’ve watched their favourite stars serenading their women on screen.
According to Sudhanshu Hukku, Director, Locations, a firm that organises film shoots abroad, tourism becomes an in-film advertisement. “Now, the middle class and higher middle class have become more aware of the need to travel. And their choices are influenced mainly by Indian films,” he says, adding that many Indians tell their tour operators that they want to see the places they’ve seen in various films.
The first overseas destination that comes to mind is Switzerland, which was made famous by Yash Chopra, courtesy the frequency with which Yash Raj Films were shot there. “Earlier, Switzerland wasn’t a highly sought-after destination. Only after Yash Chopra started shooting there that Indians zeroed in on it for holidays abroad,” recalls Babubhai Thiba of Amus Creations, which also organises locations for film shoots abroad.
However, it’s the films, which boasts of big stars, which are hot holiday spots. “Out of every 10 potential clients, seven give details of films and the locations they were shot in while briefing us about their travel plans. We’ve had many enquiries about films like Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, New York and Kambakkht Ishq, which were shot in the US,” reveals Thiba.
Reportedly, the New Zealand counter used to be a measly 500 sq ft till Rakesh Roshan’s runaway hit Kaho Naa.. Pyaar Hai happened. After that, NZ became a hot destination for Indians. “It didn’t take long for them to increase their office to a sprawling 5000 square feet one,” points out Hukku.
However, it’s not always necessary that one film can spiral tourism in the country it was shot in. Like it happened with Poland, where an important portion of the Aamir Khan-Kajol hit, Fanaa, was filmed. An insider from Yash Raj Films
dismisses it as a one-of case. “To begin with, we didn’t shoot there extensively. And then, no other
film was shot there afterwards either,” he counters.
In the same vein, Hukku adds, “It doesn’t take just one or two films. Constant exposure of a country in many films is necessary to lure a big number of tourists there. It’s rare that a solo film like Kaho Naa.. can spiral a country’s tourism.”
One reason why a producer insists on a particular location is because his movie is specifically set there. “Like New York for instance. Considering that the story was about the aftermath of 9/11, it couldn’t have been shot anywhere else,” adds Thiba.