Melissa D’costa (BOMBAY TIMES; February 5, 2013)
Whether it’s the snow-kissed Swiss Alps, a staple in many Bollywood films, or the enchanting Pangong Tso lake in Leh in 3 Idiots and Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Indian tourists want to experience it all. Exotic locations, which play an intrinsic part in Hindi films, are increasingly featuring on travel itineraries.
Scenic landscapes invite more enquiries
Manjari Verma and Avani Patel of a Bandra-based travel company believe that movies have always influenced the way people travel. The logic behind visiting these particular location seems to be that Bollywood makes these locales desirable. Says Manjari, “After 3 Idiots, we got more enquiries on packages to Ladakh. People especially wanted to visit the ‘blue lake’ they saw in the movie. Likewise, after Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD), we had guys calling up to say they wanted to do road trips with their buddies across Spain.”
Pros and cons
Manjari says, “Movies have changed the way people look at places. In fact, filmmakers themselves have changed the way they look at these places. Previously a destination was looked at only as a location; a pretty backdrop for a song or a scene. Today, you see many films that make trips an intrinsic part of the plot. Spain wasn’t just a backdrop for ZNMD, it was an essential part of the storyline as was everything that the actors did there. But the trend also has its cons. On one hand, people are exposed to more places, on the other, they are hell-bent on seeing exactly what they saw in the movie. They tend to overlook the fact that budgets also play a very important role in holidays.”
Road trips on the lines of Dil Chahta Hai
Prateek Deo, who owns a travel and adventure company, says, “Dil Chahta Hai made the concept of road trips very cool among the youth. In fact, we noticed a marked increase of traffic on NH 17 (Mumbai-Goa Highway) after the movie’s release in 2001.”
He continues, “Before the release of 3 Idiots, we would generally see a lot of foreigners in Ladakh. But now, with popularity of the film, a lot of Indian tourists started visiting the area too. As a result, the number of flights to the area increased from one to 14 per day with the number of Indian tourists going up from approximately 8,000 to 5 lakh during the months of May to September.
With Kai Po Che showcasing the kite festival in Gujarat, we won’t be surprised if tourist influx in that state suddenly shoots up.