Shah Rukh Khan starrer Koyla could not do the trick, and the crew of another blockbuster of the King Khan, Dil Se - did not turn up for shooting in the region, substituting a mock setting for Assam's Lumding railway station.
But now there are speculations that Bollywood would discover a new destination in the rugged and picturesque terrains of the North East once Har Pal hits the silver screen sometime in April next year.
Featuring actors like Priety Zinta, Shiney Ahuja and Dharmendra, Assamese director Jahnu Baruah's Har Pal is said to be among the handful of big-budget Hindi movies to be shot in the north-east.
"The entire crew was excited. We had a fantastic time shooting the film here," said director Baruah at the shoot of the film in Laitlym near Shillong.<b1>
"Shillong was not known to Bollywood, but now with Har Pal people will come to know about this beautiful place," he said.
"This is for the first time that a big-budget Hindi movie has been shot around Shillong. It should open Shillong to Bollywood,"he remarked.
Rakesh Roshan's Koyla was also shot at various locations of the North East, especially Arunachal Pradesh, but so far the region is yet to find favours by Bollywood despite its potential.
Mani Ratnam's Dil Se had a shot in Assam's Lumding railways station, but the crew did not turn up reportedly owing to the insurgency problem. A mock station was set up for the scene.
"There are many unexplored destinations in this region. I feel Bollywood would introduce this place to the rest of the world," Baruah hoped.
Priety Zinta, the lead actor of the film, exclaimed, "Wow! It's a great feeling to be here. I am touched by the simplicity of the people".
"It is a very unique place and everything is wonderful. I have told my friends about this place and all are excited to be here. I really had a nice time for the last couple of days. I am taking back all the sweet memories," she said.
Preity is playing the role of a tribal Khasi girl in this movie.
When asked about the story line, she quipped with a smile, "For this you will have to wait, take out your money from your pocket and watch the movie".
"I am impressed with the matrilineal system. This is something people in the rest of the country should learn," Preity exclaimed.
A major portion of Har Pal has been shot in and around Shillong in places like Smit, Sohra, Golf Link and Upper Shillong. The film is expected to be released in April 2008.
The film is also expected to give the viewers a taste of the country side in the region and the way of living of the tribal people.
Apart from this hill station, the film will also be shot in Mumbai and Kolkata.
In the early 1990s, some shots of the Salman Khan-featured Kurban was also taken in Shillong, often referred to as the Scotland of the East.