Imagine Yash Chopra, breezy romances but sans the Swiss Alps Perhaps, it would have ended up looking like any other regular romance. The same could be said about the entire bunch of Hindi films; exotic locations are now synonymous with Hindi mainstream fares. From shooting a romantic number amidst the lush green valleys to being surrounded by snow clad mountains in Switzerland to canning an action sequence in the cluttered souks of Dubai foreign locations have now become an intrinsic part of a Hindi film's song-and-dance plot.
How many of us would have known of Auckland, Wellington and St Petersburg, had not Abbas- Mastan shot Players there, or even a place like Mykonos which was depicted in Jodi Breakers, or even better, Agent Vinod, which featured Morocco, Latvia and nine other such exotic places
Seventy six per cent in the Screen survey believe that Bollywood films have contributed to making destinations foreign and local into brands by showcasing them in their films.
Out of the various locations showcased in Hindi films, it is Switzerland that tops the recall value of the sample with 28 per cent. The place grew to prominence as a filming location in the 1960s, when unrest in the disputed Indian state of Kashmir made filming dance numbers on the mountains of the subcontinent impossible. Since then, Switzerland became synonymous to Yash Raj Films, where Chopra shot his romantic hits like Chandni, Lamhe, Darr etc. These destinations made popular by Chopra in his films would soon become the most sought after destination as a perfect place for tourism. So much, that the film-maker was honoured by the Swiss Government. In Switzerland, Yash Chopra shot at a lake in the Alpenrausch so often that it was christened as Chopra Lake. The romantic dreamer was also felicitated with Swiss Ambassador Award by the Embassy of Switzerland.
The next hot spot via Bollywood was Australia. It got 23 per cent as the place that benefitted from Hindi film presence in their land. The country has been depicted in several Bollywood hits including Dil Chahta Hai, Bachna Ae Haseeno, We Are Family, Salaam Namaste and Chak De! India among others. Reportedly, Salaam Namaste was the first Indian movie filmed entirely in Australia using various locations in Melbourne and regional Victoria, including the Great Ocean Road and Rye Beach on the Mornington Peninsula. It is surprising to see that the sample recalled, the most traditional markets like UK and USA only next to Switzerland and Australia with 19 and 13 per cent respectively.
Interestingly, Spain too features among the hot spots created by Bollywood. The country has been depicted in hardly any Hindi films, except for the Hrithik Roshan-Katrina Kaif-Farhan Akhtar starrer hit Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. The film actually worked as a blockbuster movie, that essentially served as a feature-length tourism advertisement. The male leads Hrithik-Farhan-Abhay went hopping from one tourist destination to another, showcasing the vivid culture running with the bulls in Pamplona, squashing tomatoes at the La Tomatina festival in Bunol etc. Thanks to the movie, Spain saw a hike in its tourist ratio, with a 32 per cent rise in the Indian tourists visiting the place.
Not only foreign countries, the Survey suggests that 82 per cent of the sample thinks that Bollywood influences the choices of Indian traveller and the Indian tourism industry.
Since Bollywood lives in Mumbai, the city tops the list with 41 per cent of the sample recalling Mumbai, for obvious reasons. Be it a romantic film like Tum Mile set amidst the Mumbai floods or films (,Satya, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai) depicting the underworld have helped in a big way to spread the word about Mumbai tourism. It is because of these movies that people from far flung places come to watch the heritage sight of Victoria Terminus building, now known as CST or the Marine Drive which are a must to feature in Mumbai based movies.
Following Mumbai, Delhi ranks second in line with 33 per cent. Interestingly, in the recent past, the Capital city has played a prominent role in recent films like Delhi 6, Delhi Belly or Fukrey. The Survey also highlights places like Chennai or Kolkata which were majorly featured in movies like Chennai Express and Kahaani etc.
Talk about in-movie advertising, Bollywood ranks first as a brochure in creating brands out of Indian states or international destinations.