Uncharted terrain: Bollywood films exploring untapped foreign locations

May 28, 2014, 08:51 IST | Shakti Shetty

The Hindi film industry is scouting for newer locales. We take a look at forthcoming films that are going off the beaten track

In her recently released film, Queen, Kangna Ranaut’s character was shown as strolling around in Paris and Amsterdam.

Farhan Akhtar, Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra and Anushka Sharma
From left: Farhan Akhtar, Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra and Anushka Sharma will be shooting for Zoya Akhtar’s upcoming film, Dil Dhadakne Do, on a cruise liner that will halt at Barcelona (below), among other port cities in Spain. The crew has decided on shooting at several locales in keeping with the fact that the project is being hailed as Bollywood’s first destination film. 

Those who have watched the film will agree that that both cities were more than just backdrops in the film.


Of course, European destinations have been showcased in Hindi films for quite some time now, but of late, there is a tendency among filmmakers to shoot at hitherto unexplored locales.

Kangna Ranaut’s character, decides to go on her honeymoon to Europe — all by herself — in the film, 'Queen'
Kangna Ranaut’s character, decides to go on her honeymoon to Europe — all by herself — in the film, 'Queen'

hitlist points out some upcoming films that have been shot in unfamiliar terrain...


Director: Sajid Nadiadwala
Country: Poland
Lowdown: Although Fanaa (2006), starring Aamir Khan and Kajol, was shot in Poland, the country remains unexplored in Hindi films. Sajid, who makes his directorial debut with this Salman Khan-starrer, has shot a major chunk in the country.

Bombay Velvet
'Bombay Velvet'

Director: Anurag Kashyap
Country: Sri Lanka
Lowdown: Madras Cafe (2013) may have not been shot in this island country, but Kashyap has shot a major portion of his next film in Sri Lanka. In fact, his team is said to have created the largest set for a Bollywood film outside India.


Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Country: Belgium
Lowdown: Seldom has a Hindi film been chosen by Bollywood filmmakers. But Hirani’s upcoming film, starring Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma and Sushant Singh Rajput, features several sequences shot in the country.


Director: Kabir Khan
Country: Lebanon
Lowdown: The last few years have seen many Bollywood films get shot in Morocco and Turkey. This year has an addition in the form of Lebanon. Several scenes in the upcoming thriller, starring Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif, have been filmed in Beirut.

Dil Dhadakne Do
'Dil Dhadakne Do'

Director: Zoya Akhtar
Country: Spain and France
Lowdown: A film that has a cruise liner as an integral part of the storyline is bound to go places. And Zoya’s next film, touted as Bollywood’s first destination movie, does feature travel in a bug way. The film will be shot in several countries including many European ports.


Director: Maneesh Sharma
Country: Croatia
Lowdown: Fan can perhaps do to Croatia what Rockstar (2011) did to Czech Republic. Croatia is one of those European destinations that continue to remain unexplored. Makers of this film, starring Shah Rukh Khan, have apparently chosen to shoot some action sequences in the country.

Bang Bang
'Bang Bang'

Director: Siddharth Raj Anand
Country: Thailand
Lowdown: Bangkok and Pattaya may be common tourist destinations for Indian families, but they have been not been very popular among Hindi filmmakers. Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif’s forthcoming action thriller, however, will showcase Thailand in many high-octane sequences.

India shining

While Bollywood filmmakers continue to scout for newer locales around the globe, we take a look at Hollywood films that have been shot in India...

>> Jobs (2013)
Ashton Kutcher shot for a few days in north India as he played Steve Jobs in this biopic. The scenes shot here showed his character evince a keen interest in spirituality.

>> Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Although this action thriller revolves around hunting down Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, several scenes were shot in Chandigarh as the makers did not get permission to shoot in Pakistan.

>> The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Christopher Nolan had once mentioned that he was enamoured by Rajasthan’s beauty. This fascination only became evident when the filmmaker chose to shoot the jail escape scene, featuring Christian Bale,
in Jodhpur.

>> Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol (2011)
Anil Kapoor wasn’t the only Indian connect in this Tom Cruise-starrer. Several scenes of the film were shot in the bylanes of Bora Bazaar, Mumbai, and at Sun TV office in Bengaluru.

>> The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)
Starring Judie Dench, Maggie Smith and Dev Patel, the film is about British retirees who come to India on a vacation and stay at Udaipur’s Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Paradigm shift
Earlier, countries like Switzerland, United Kingdom, Australia and United States of America were staple venues among Bollywood filmmakers. It’s only recently that their attention has moved to relatively less popular countries.
— with inputs from Shreya Agarwal

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