The Covid-19 pandemic brought travel and film industry to a standstill. But with the ease of travel restrictions, many film shoots have resumed and filmmakers are opting for domestic locations across India to begin filming. While actor Shilpa Shetty Kundra recently shot in Manali, Himachal Pradesh for her upcoming film Hungama 2, actor Shahid Kapoor wrapped up his shoot for Jersey in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. Actor Siddhant Chaturvedi gave glimpses of his shoot in Goa for his next untitled film, and actor Raveena Tandon too shared pictures from her web-series shoot in Dalhouise, Himachal Pradesh.
So, does filming at domestic destinations during such times also gives confidence to people to travel again and help in boosting tourism? Filmmaker Kunal Kohli recalls, “Earlier in 1980’s and 1990s — best examples and the solid ones, Yashji [Yash Chopra] used to shoot in Switzerland, and we all know how the tourism boomed. I know after I shot in Hum Tum (2004) in Amsterdam, there was a spurt of tourists. So, it definitely does help.”
Kohli believes that the key to selling a destination to the audience is to present and package it well. He says, “People need to be sold the place as there are so many options to travel to in the country and, how many places can a family go in a lifetime? Once you give them the options and show them the cities through films, they start travelling.”
After the success of Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), Spain became the go-to destination for an ideal road trip. Back home, Athirapally Falls in Kerala became a popular choice among tourists after a few scenes of Baahubali (2015) were filmed at the location, and Mandawa, a small town of Jhunjhunu district in Rajasthan also witnessed an increased influx of tourists after the release of Aamir Khan-starrer PK (2014), which was shot there. The fascinating ghats of Varanasi turned into major attractions thanks to films such as Masaan (2015), Raanjhanaa (2013). The palaces of Udaipur have been a favourite of filmmakers as well as shown in scenes of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela (2013).
Emphasising on promoting Indian cities through films, Kohli says, “I think we should promote Indian cities and destinations because we have everything in our country. It just needs to be explored and packaged correctly. A lot of tourism is packaging dependent and a film’s shoot definitely promotes tourism.”
However, the filmmaker also believes that as much as the film industry needs to work in partnership for the recovery of domestic tourism, it is commendable to see film shoots at international locations amid the pandemic. He says, “Akshay Kumar’s upcoming film Bell Bottom proved otherwise. It gives a clear message that you can take any size of crew, with the biggest stars and with utmost safety precautions at an international location, and manage to finish it timely. It shows the efficiency of the unit as well as the location [Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom] they shot at.”
Interact with author/sanchita_kalra.