Iconic Indian Movie Locations and film tourism
Popularly known as Bollywood, India’s film Industry or Hindi Cinema is one of the largest and most effective in the world. It produces anamazing number of movies each year, enveloping a wide range of genres from romance to action to drama. Bollywood films are known for their vibrant storytelling, colorful costumes, and expanded song and dance sequences. With a massive domestic audience and a growing international fan base, Indian cinema has a crucial global influence. Behind this popularity and worldwide influence of Indian movies, locations, and backdrop plays an important role. They make the stories more interesting and look beautiful on the screen. India has many different kinds of places like palaces, backwaters, and busy cities that filmmakers use to tell their stories. These locations help create a special feeling & connection and show the audience what different parts of India are like. They also make the movies more realistic and authentic. When people see these amazing places in the movies, they might want to visit them in real life too, and this is the point when Film Tourism enters.
What do you mean by Film Tourism?
Film tourism, also known as cine tourism or movie tourism, refers to the practice of visiting real-life locations that have been featured in movies or TV shows. It involves traveling to these specific destinations to experience and explore the settings, landmarks, and attractions showcased in popular films. Film tourism has gained popularity as fans and travelers seek to connect with their favorite movies on a more personal level, immersing themselves in the places where iconic scenes were filmed. It offers a unique opportunity to walk in the footsteps of beloved characters, witness the scenery and architecture seen on screen, and delve into the cultural and historical contexts depicted in the films. Film tourism provides an engaging and experiential way for enthusiasts to bridge the gap between fiction and reality while enjoying the beauty and charm of real-world destinations. Film Tourism also helps the local economy.
Top 10 Iconic Indian Movie Locations
- Ramnagar, Karnataka – Sholay
Ramnagar, a place in Karnataka, was used as a shooting location for the famous Bollywood movie "Sholay" (1975). The rocky terrain and unique landscapes of Ramnagar created the setting for the fictional village of Ramgarh in the film. Gabbar (Amjad Khan)asks Samba (Mac Mohan) questions like “Aree oh Samba! Kitna Inaamrakhehai Sarkar hum par” and in return, Samba replies standing atop the hill “Puree 50,000” and the iconic scene between Veeru (Dharmendra) and Basanti (Hema Malini), when Veeru says “Basanti inn Kuttonkesamne mat Nachna” where some of the notable shots happened in the Hill.The natural beauty of the place added to the authenticity and adventure portrayed in "Sholay". Tourists still call this place Ramgarh instead of Ramnagar.
- Chapora Fort, Goa- DilChahta Hai
Undoubtedly Chapora Fort is one of the most popular forts in Goa. Located in Bardez, Goa, the Fort was built by Adil Shah and it was then called Shahpura. Later Portuguese changed the name of the fort to Chapora. Chapora Fort is the exact location where the iconic scene of one of the notablemovies “DilChahta Hai” (2001) shooting happened. The place where Akash, Sameer, and Sid had their small conversation regarding their friendship and life. Many people also call this fort ‘DilChahtahai’ Fort. The fort's scenic surroundings and panoramic views of the Arabian Sea provide a picturesque backdrop for the film.
- Rohtang Pass, Manali – Jab We Met
Rohtang Pass, situated in the Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh, has been used as a shooting location for many Bollywood movies. One famous film shot there is "Jab We Met" (2007), a romantic comedy-drama. Apart from showing the stunning snowy peaks, vast landscapes, and beautiful surroundings of Rohtang Pass, the movie also showcased a beautiful tradition of that area. During the song, Yeh Ishq Haithere is a scene depicting a traditional wedding ritual where the lead actors exchange garlands amidst the scenic beauty of Manali.
- Munnar, Kerala – Chennai Express
Known for its lush green tea plantations and scenic landscapes, Munnar has been featured in several Indian movies. In the movie "Chennai Express" (2013), the characters Rahul portrayed by Shahrukh Khan, and Meena (Deepika Padukone) embark on a romantic journey through the beautiful hills and tea gardens of Munnar, showcasing the serene and picturesque surroundings of the region.
- Pangong Tso Lake, Ladakh – 3 Idiots
Situated at an altitude of 4,350 meters, Pangong Tso Lake is a breathtakingly beautiful location that has captivated audiences with its pristine blue waters and majestic mountains. In the movie "3 Idiots" (2009), there is a memorable scene where Rancho (Aamir Khan), Raju (Sharman Joshi), and Farhan (R. Madhavan) have a heartfelt conversation by the banks of Pangong Tso Lake, against the backdrop of the awe-inspiring lake and surrounding landscapes.
- Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh – Raanjhana
Known for its spiritual significance and ancient architecture, Varanasi is a popular movie location. In the movie "Raanjhanaa" (2013), the city of Varanasi becomes an integral part of the narrative, with vibrant scenes filmed along the ghats (steps) of the Ganges River. The film follows the story of Kundan (Dhanush) and Zoya (Sonam Kapoor), as their lives intertwine in the backdrop of Varanasi's cultural vibrancy and religious rituals.
- Jodhpur, Rajasthan–Veer Zaara
With its magnificent palaces, vibrant markets, and blue-painted houses, Jodhpur has a distinctive charm that has attracted filmmakers. In the movie "Veer-Zaara" (2004), the grand Mehrangarh Fort serves as the backdrop for emotional and dramatic sequences. One famous scene in the film is where Veer, played by Shah Rukh Khan, and Zaara, played by Preity Zinta, meet for the first time in the mesmerizing surroundings of Mehrangarh Fort. The fort's towering walls and intricate architecture add a sense of grandeur to their encounter, setting the stage for a profound connection between the characters. This poignant scene, against the backdrop of Jodhpur's architectural beauty, has become iconic in Indian cinema, capturing the essence of love, destiny, and cultural richness.
- India Gate, New Delhi – Fanaa& Rang De Basanti
India Gate in Delhi has been a popular & common shooting location for Bollywood movies. Two notable films that feature scenes shot at India Gate are "Fanaa" and "Rang De Basanti."
In "Fanaa" (2006), a romantic thriller, India Gate serves as a backdrop for some valuable scenes. The iconic structure and its surrounding areas add to the atmosphere of the film, enhancing the emotional intensity and dramatic moments.
Similarly, in "Rang De Basanti" (2006), India Gate is showcased in various sequences, symbolizing the spirit of patriotism and protest. The film explores themes of social activism and youth empowerment, with India Gate serving as a significant location for gatherings and demonstrations. One of the iconic scenes was when DJ (Aamir Khan) and his friends wereseen paying respect to the India Gate and other scenes where they were seen organizing a peaceful candlelight vigil at India Gate to protest against the corruption and apathy prevalent in society.
- Udaipur, Rajasthan – Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani&Ramleela
Both "Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani" (2013) and "Ramleela" (2013) are Bollywood movies that feature shooting locations in different parts of India.
In "Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani," Udaipur, a city in Rajasthan, plays a significant role in the film. The stunning City Palace, Lake Pichola, and Fateh Sagar Lake in Udaipur provide a romantic and picturesque backdrop for key sequences in the movie. These locations showcase the regal heritage and architectural splendor of Udaipur, adding to the visual appeal of the film.
On the other hand, "Ramleela" is predominantly set in the city of Gujarat, particularly in the fictional town of Ranjaar. The movie beautifully captures the vibrant culture, colorful festivities, and traditional architecture of Gujarat. While the exact shooting locations are not specified, various scenic spots in Gujarat were utilized to depict the town's lively atmosphere and cultural traditions.
Both films make effective use of their shooting locations to enhance the visual storytelling and immerse the audience in the cinematic experience. Udaipur's majestic palaces and lakes in "Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani" evoke a sense of romance and grandeur, while the vibrant backdrop of Gujarat in "Ramleela" adds depth and authenticity to the narrative.
- Wagah Border – Veer Zaara & Bajrangi Bhaijaan
The Wagah Border, located between India and Pakistan, has been a popular shooting location for Bollywood movies due to its historical significance and patriotic atmosphere.
One notable film that prominently features the Wagah Border is "BajrangiBhaijaan" (2015). In this film, the climax scene takes place at the border, where the protagonist, played by Salman Khan, attempts to reunite a lost Pakistani girl with her family across the border. The Wagah Border serves as a powerful backdrop, symbolizing the emotions, challenges, and shared bond between the two countries.
On the other hand in "Veer-Zaara," Veer (Shah Rukh Khan) and Zaara (Preity Zinta) find themselves on opposite sides of the border, with Veer being an Indian and Zaara a Pakistani. The emotional scene at the Wagah Border portrays their heart-wrenching separation as they bid farewell to each other. The setting of the Wagah Border amplifies the intensity and depth of their love story, as they are torn apart by circumstances beyond their control. In contradiction to the above scene, another scene was also there in the ending where both Zaara and Veer were seen standing together depicting that after all the struggles and suffering,they were united.
Iconic Indian movie locations have played a significant role in promoting film tourism in the country. These locations, ranging from picturesque landscapes to historical landmarks, have become popular attractions for both domestic and international tourists. Bollywood movies, with their captivating narratives and visually stunning scenes, have showcased the diverse beauty of India and its rich cultural heritage. Film tourism allows fans and enthusiasts to visit these iconic locations, immerse themselves in the world of cinema, and experience the magic of their favorite movies firsthand. The popularity of film tourism continues to grow, contributing to the economic and cultural growth of the destinations and providing a unique and memorable experience for travelers.