7 Indian places made famous by bollywood flicks-
Cinema has always been a medium that has made its audience aspires for what they see on screen, with the Bollywood industry being a classic example. Their ability to enamour its audiences has shown no signs of slowing down regarding the sheer versatility in the number of exotic visual landscapes has introduced constantly. Every time we watch a film, sly questions sprouts within our minds which make us ponder for a time.
What makes a Bollywood film interesting? The plot, the actor, the character tropes, the theme, the music, the fashion, the direction, structure etc. etc…The list just keeps ongoing.
While all of these terms are correct answers from different perspectives, the real essence of this question itself is in its ability to make us think of how a film can make us aspire for what we see on the screen and of how cinema is in fact a conglomeration of several arts painted into a single canvas. While all of these elements are unique on their own, they cannot exist in a physical form without the canvas on which it is set, i.e., The location, A significantly underrated aspect that grows in on us as we watch a movie over and over again.
Remember those days when we used to be completely lost in the dreamy world of classic Bollywood movies? From those lehenga clad group dances in the semi-classical brigade of the 80s to disco pep songs across suburbs in the 90s, catchy tunes atop of trains or those long romantic melodies along mountainsides or grass fields? No matter which generation you belong to X, Y or Z, these nostalgic memories will always remain cherished in the hearts of many and more.
Be it songs or shots, one of the main things that made us love them were the refreshingly exciting visuals that we witnessed in them. These locations were a trademark of any Bollywood film and contributed immensely towards the overall popularity of the venture. Not only that, these iconic Indian places made famous by Bollywood soon became must-see tourist destinations within the country, resonating from the breathtaking charisma that they presented.
While recent Bollywood flicks have moved on to include a brigade of foreign locations like Switzerland and the USA, the significant impact of these past locations within the country and their exotic presence will always have a special place in our hearts no matter what the trend is in the future.
This list is an attempt to put the limelight on some of the most iconic Indian places made famous by Bollywood movies .
- Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu – Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar
Starting with a classic here, the vibrant image of Aamir Khan cycling through the lush green hilly terrains with its layered granite cliffs and the breezing forest valleys is a visual that literally, anybody who has watched a glimpse of the movie will remember forever. The soothing tune of the ever classic “Pehla Nasha” and its relaxing visuals made us all wish for the possibility of being transported into this peaceful abode for even a short period.
A childhood classic, the layered cliffs and tea plantations alongside the star-shaped Kodaikanal Lake is a common sight while visiting. The cool terrain filled with a completely chill atmosphere of less than 18°C throughout the majority of the year, ensures it is a must-visit spot for the kids in summer.
For anyone planning to visit, travel by train or car would be the most suitable up until the reach of Palani town and an animated jeep ride along the curvy hills to the top is an experience that doesn’t disappoint. Don’t forget to pack that extra pair of coats or jacket, you might really need it if winter comes a bit too fast ;).
- Chapra Fort, Goa – Dil Chaahta Hai
A modern classic that showed us another side of exploring Goa. Farhan Akhtar’s debut Opus featuring a dynamic cast of Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshay Khanna and Preity Zinta has become one of the most defining films that have influenced the new age friendships and relationships. Along with the spectacular narrative, the visual dimensions require a share of the credits as well, especially the scene in Chapra Fort.
Contributing one of the most important scenes in the movie, the tardy rock walls and the high point of view from the fort created an aesthetic appeal that made us all yearn for a day when we could all visit this place with our friends and loved ones.
Located less than a few meters from Vagator Beach, The high altitude of the building and its silent surroundings made it a dream destination for everyone who wishes to think deep and loud with their companions. The misty noise of the cool air bouncing around the rock walls adds a soothing atmosphere to the structure. The Fort was significant in giving a new perspective to the portrayal of Goa in mainstream media as more often than not the frenzied parties were the only image that they were associated with.
I mean, Just imagine reading this article while sitting on one of the walls of this fort while out with your friends.. ahhh… Now we’re talking “Inner Peace”.
- Manali, Himachal Pradesh – Jab We Met/ Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani/Roja
The celestial beauty of icy glaciers and snow peaks were visible in the eyes of Geet, Naina and Roja and their exhilarating expressions upon seen these pearly white terrains for the first time in front of them is one of the most accurate portrayals of the beauty of Manali in mainstream media. All these Bollywood films from three different periods – the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, reflect the truth of how the aesthetical significance of the winter in Manali is universal and constant in the past, present and future.
One of the most popular destinations in northern Himachal Pradesh, the area is famous for being one of the few locations in India to receive actual snowfall throughout the winter. The popular song “ Yeh Ishq Aaye” from Jab We Met manages to directly capture the scenic beauty of the 4000m high Rohtang Pass, which is believed to be one of the most scenically beautiful views across the country.
Along with the trekking famous Parvati Valley seen in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and the ski zone, Solang Valley portrayed in Roja, the overall landscape of Manali has been aptly visualised in these three films. Even though they appear for a very brief time in all three, their significance can never be denied every time we watch them.
- Munnar, Kerala – Chennai Express
The vibrant atmosphere of the hill station within the borders mixed with the lushly green tint of the western ghats protruding from beyond the narrow curvy roads was a visual treat that was captured to perfection by the frames of Dudley under the direction of Rohit Shetty in this 2013 blockbuster.
Although brief, the colourful apparels of Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone clad in the traditional mundu and surrounded by background dancers wearing apparels that were aesthetic representations of Kerala’s cultural art forms like Kathakali and Mohiniyattam in the peppy and enjoyable song “Kashmir Main Tu Kanyakumari”, showcased the artistic relevance of South Indian culture. It also opened up the potential of Munnar as a tourist spot to Northern audiences. I guess there is no need to wait anymore. Pack you’re bags, get ‘Ready Steady Po’ !!.
- Udaipur Palace & Ganguar Ghat, Rajasthan – Goliyon Ki Rasleela – Ramleela
Well known for his legendary visuals and melodramatically impactful themes, The gorgeous vision of Sanjay Leela Bhansali was instrumental yet again in this Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh starred that was released in 2013. From the polarity of the Rajari and Sanera clans to the cultural ethos and dynamic of the city behind the walls of the Udaipur palace, the visual treatment that the film received was extremely revolutionary at the time.
A common sight in a Bhansali film, the use of lavish sets and vivaciously strong colours were backed up by the multidimensional streets of modern-day Rajasthan. The historically rich architectural style along with the traditional aura of the city beautifully enhanced the depth of Ram and Leela’s love. While their compassion was eventually caught between different sides of a cruel fate, one could not forget to spare a thought for the chilling frames of the city that had stood on a level above everything else.
- Varanasi Ghat’s, Uttar Pradesh – Raanjhanaa
Arguably the most versatile in this list, Aanand L Rai’s 2014 Bollywood flick with Dhanush and Sonam Kapoor in the lead was a multilayered drama that was tied together in the backdrop of the sensitive religious division and its politics in the country. Much like the characters of Kundan and Zoya whose life is explored in a conspicuous tale of love, drama and betrayal from teenage to adulthood, the city also undergoes a picturesque diversity in its representations.
Starting from the ever-present pious image of the Varanasi crowd to slowly incorporating elements of the run down gully’s and shops and the different landscapes makes us feel the presence of Varanasi growing with each scene.
Being one of the most spiritually significant places in India, Varanasi as a location has a lot of scope in its ultimate intention, and Raanjhanaa has managed to capture this quite convincingly. The gradual change from the saffron-clad surroundings to the city-bred social outlook was a very smooth and natural change that could have gone bad if not done through the right path.
- Athirapilly Waterfalls, Kerala – Dil Se
And finally to one of the writer’s most favourite locations out of all, The legendary Athirapally Waterfalls of Thrissur, Kerala. One of the largest Waterfalls in India, the mere sight of sparkling droplets showering from almost 390m high in elevation to eventually crashing hard into the rocky terrains below to form capering water waves is a majestic sight in itself.
Perhaps the sheer satisfaction of this cycle was the reason why this film was briefly captured in this location by the legendary director Mani Ratnam in his 1999 classic ‘Dil Se’, starring Shahrukh Khan, Manisha Koirala and Preity Zinta. The song “ Jiya Jale” featured the refreshing backwaters of Kerala along with the waterfall.
The writer still ponders over the nostalgia of singing along with this iconic song throughout his childhood, especially the fast-paced medley “ Punchiri Thanji Konjikko” which was irresistible to Malayalis worldwide. This location is thereby nothing short of a treat for those who yearn for the mixture of frolicking waves amidst a beach below a hilly terrain, a certified combination that can bring nothing more than joy B-).
The above destinations were the list of Indian places made famous by Bollywood. Hope you would have enjoyed reading it.