The Bollywood fascination with international filming locations
With an estimated value of USD2.3 billion in 2016, Bollywood is one of the largest production industries in the world. Other countries are always trying to attract the attention of Indian Producers to promote their regions for filming. With an increasing number of Bollywood films being shot abroad, the industry has always been happy to oblige. Indian Producers our constantly searching for locations that can’t be found at home as well as attractive financial incentives.
The decision to shoot Bollywood features abroad also works in tandem with a growing appetite amongst India's middle class for travelling abroad. Roughly 50 million people pertaining to India’s middle class will have taken trips abroad by 2020, up from the previous calculation of 20 million in 2014.
Below are some of the few countries to have hosted Bollywood projects in recent years:
There’s no doubt that Abu Dhabi benefits from only being a 3-4 hour flight away from India, but the local film incentive rebate and premium aesthetic make it a fantastic option for low to mid-budget productions. Duvvada Jagannadham recently became the first production from the Telugu region of India to shoot in Abu Dhabi, hiring 120 crew members and serviced by twofour54.
Detailing the shoot, Director Harish Shankar states: “I have shot five films in India and for my sixth film I wanted something completely new – something exciting to match the script. I had seen movies made in Abu Dhabi and I knew this was the perfect location.”
Abu Dhabi is the only member of the Emirates that provides a film incentive programme. Feature films, television shows and commercials productions can receive a 30% cash rebate upon in the city when a required minimum spend is incurred locally.
With a shorter flight time than most European countries and lower costs on local goods and services, Poland has become a favourite among Producers who are conscious about meeting their bottom line. Warsaw became the host of action film Kick in 2014, with the production filming atop the Palace of Culture and Sciences. Due to the city’s post-Second World War reconstruction, Warsaw offers an incomparable degree of location variety as modern skyscrapers and classic historical architecture are only moments away from one another.
More recently, the country hosted the science-fiction film, 24. This time around, the production shot in locations throughout the country, stopping in Krakow, Góra Zborów, Zakopane, Leba, Lewin Kłodzki, Jedlina Zdroj, Wałbrzych, Bulowice and Nowe Brzesko. Poland will soon become even more affordable as it introduces a proposed 25% cash rebate, expected to go live later this year.
In late 2015, Iceland hosted the high-budget romantic comedy, Dilwale, starring Shah Rukh Khan. The production shot at Skógafoss waterfall, the black sand beach of Vík í Mýrdal and at the infamous site of the Solheimasandur plane crash, where the abandoned wreckage of a United States Navy airplane still remains to this day.
The film has created an influx of Indian tourists to Iceland, strengthening the economic ties between the two countries. Regarding film tourism, Iceland’s Ambassador to India, Thorir Ibsen explains: “Dilwale, and specially the song, 'Gerua', has increased so much interest in Iceland that we are flooded with questions to the embassy, so we are managing to get more tourist companies here. We are promoting Iceland as a destination for film shoots among Indian filmmakers.”
Iceland offers a 25% reimbursement when a feature film or television shows incur at least 80% of their overall expenditure within the country. The incentive has allowed Iceland to come out on top as one of the main Nordic production hubs.
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