Set- jetters Paradise: Bollywood Tours and Filmi Chakkars in India

Remember a lovelorn Arvind Swamy in Blue Jeans and striped T shirt singing the soulful melody of “ Tu Hi Re, Tu Hi Re/ Tere Bina Main Kaise Jiyun” on the ramparts of a magical fort lashed incessantly by the sea waves under the fading lights of a monsoon sky. A desparate Shaila Bano aka Manisha Koirala unable to bear the agony of separation comes down running on the slopes of a tower in the fort. Guessed right, indeed it was Mani Ratnam’s Bombay, the biggest blockbuster of 1995.

Then there was Saif Khan romanticizing Vidya Balan amidst the huffing and Puffing of a train in the song Kasto mazza hai relaima/ Ramailo o kaali oraali in the movie Parineeta.

More recently in the movie” Jab We Met “Kareena was seen dancing to the hit number “Yeh Ishq/ Haan Hai Koi To Wajah/ To Jeena Ka Maza Yun Aane Laga “with a troupe of dancers from Himachal Pradesh in a verdant valley. The beautiful dancers were roped in from Chamba, Bilaspur, Kinnor, Dharamshala, Hamirpur and Kullu.

By this time, you must be wondering what this post is all about or what on earth does IndiaHotelReview.com has to do with Hindi Films or the songs we are talking about.

FYI, “Tu Hi Re” of Bombay was shot in the magnificent Bekal Fort in the Kasargod district of north Kerala, Parineeta’s song was very much in the toy train of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) while “Ye Ishq” with bollywood bombshell Kareena was shot in the verdant hills of Kulu Manali. All top tourist destinations.

Welcome to the world of Film tourism or ‘Set-Jetting’, a term that has become very popular abroad especially in Britain. Set- Jetting means that potential tourists are likely to get influenced and visit the places, restaurants, because of its appearance in the films or TV. Essentially it is an effort to capitalize on the ‘Screen Magic’.

According to researches made on film tourism it has been established that 8 out of 10 people have got their interest aroused in a particular destination by it’s presence on the film and 2 out of 10 will actually travel to the location of the film.

Not so long ago before the Bollywood directors and producers made a beeline for more glamorous locales offshore, Indian landscapes offered( still it does) great locations for outdoor shoots.

Ask your grand parents about how a boatman would point the place near Dhuandhar falls on river Narmada in Jabalpur where a charming Padmini frolicked in the water in the super duper film of the 60’s “ Jis Desh Me Ganga Bahti Hai “. In the 70’s flick “Aradhana”, Rajesh Khanna, the then heartthrob of many female fans wooed a gorgeous Sharmila Tagore on the slopes of Darjeeling Hills or more recently Amitabh Bachchan doing a Lolita in “Nishabd” with sprightly Jiah Khan in the very picturesque Munnar. Tea County in Munnar where Amitabh stayed was teeming with people to catch a glimpse of the superstar.

Not many know that “Chaiya Chaiya” presumably one of the best train songs ever shot for an Indian Movie in Mani Ratnam’s controversial “Dil se” was picturised on the train of Nilgiri Mountain Railways that runs between Mettupalayam and Ooty. This is a 46 km breathtaking journey across hair-pen bends and curves, tea gardens, dark tunnels, narrow valleys of lush green vegetations. During shooting lasting over a week Shahrukh sung his heart out atop this train over a period of 8-days.

By the way Ooty is also the place where hit films like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Saajan, Raja Hindustani, Maine Pyar Kiya, Jo jeeta Wohi Sikander, Raaj, Dil Hai ki Manta Nahin etc were shot.

While milking the Indian Film Industry has caught on the fancy of Tourist Boards abroad, unfortunately in India inspite of Filmstars enjoying status of Demigods and Films such a big passion, Set –jetting or it’s slightly skewed Hindi “ Filmi Chakkar” is neither very popular nor promoted aggressively.

It was amazing to learn that after “Kaho Na Pyar Hai” New Zealand made special efforts to woo Indian tourists or Britain is having a dedicated Bollywood map to trail the places where our stars danced or had an intimate tête-à-tête. It’s high time that we understand the potential of Set-Jetting and set the ball rolling with our very familiar or not so Known Bollywod Hotspots. Let’s start our Filmi Chakkar with Ooty.

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