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Payel Majumdar Upreti | Updated on October 22, 2018

Couples in Hindi films once cavorted in Switzerland or Kashmir. The setting today has shifted to the more exotic South Africa, Cuba, the Netherlands and Finland — or, occasionally, the ghats of Varanasi

There was a time when Hindi films were like Lonely Planet guides. Shammi Kapoor went rolling down the snowy slopes of the Valley, and hundreds of filmgoers promptly booked their tickets to Kashmir. The hero and heroine cavorted near the Alps, and a Swiss holiday was suddenly in demand. When the lovers traipsed among tulips, Indians were keen to have a look at the Netherlands.

Online travel guides are a dime a dozen now, but an exotic locale in a Hindi film still beckons. And that is why hordes descend on Pangong Tso in Ladakh, the place where Rancho, the maverick in 3 Idiots, decided to open a school. It is even called the 3 Idiots Lake nowadays, just as a picturesque valley between Chandanwadi and Pahalgam is locally known as Betaab Valley, ever since the film by that name was shot at the location in 1983. Hindi films also serve as travel planners for honeymooners. Hum Saath-Saath Hain found an entire family travelling to Rampur with a newly-married couple; Roja explored terrorism in the backdrop of a married couple’s holiday in Kashmir, while Honeymoon Travels Pvt Limited was all about the Indian honeymoon. As for Goa, it has had Dil Chahta Hai, Finding Fanny and Go Goa Gone capturing it in loving detail. And the colours of Rajasthan have always proved irresistible.

It’s the foreign locales, however, that still rule. Ek Tha Tiger was shot in Cuba, Turkey and Ireland; Agent Vinod in Morocco; Shamitabh in Finland; and Players in New Zealand and Russia. Old-favourite Switzerland — Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, among others, was shot there –— unsurprisingly has actor Ranveer Singh as brand ambassador for Swiss tourism. Of late, a journey has become a means for self-discovery. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara saw three male friends bond in Spain, and Queen, shot in Paris and Amsterdam, was about a young woman’s discovery of self-worth. See a film, see the world.

Payel Majumdar Upreti

Published on October 05, 2018

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