Bollywood in Goa, the Freak Capital of the World

Bollywood’s connection with Goa, India: Movies shot, film festivals and other Bollywood related events in Goa.

Even if you’re not an Indian, its very likely that you already know about this place, and if you’ve not been to this place, probably its there on your to-do list. Its a favorite with the Bollywood celebrities.

India’s prime holiday destination, compared to the rest of India, Goa offers a much better quality of life (although it does have its lows, there are many more highs). Its a great place that offers you lots of elbow room, has clear skies & cleaner beaches, and more importantly is peace and quiet.

The state offers several attractions, but its the magnificent beaches that attracts several Asians, Britishers, Scandinavians and Russians to this place every year.

About Goa

Located in the Konkan region of western India, it is surrounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its western coast.


Panaji is the state’s capital.

This state has good infrastructure, better quality of life, and is the preferred location for second home-buyers as well as for those seeking an early retirement.

It’s probably the only place in India which is on the Global Tourism map.

And Goa is definitely not only about beaches! If you’ve seen Chennai Express, in the first half, there’s a scene where the train reaches a place with lush greenery and a spectacular waterfall in the background. That place is Dudhsagar, which is located near the border with Karnataka.

Dudhsagar Waterfalls in ‘Chennai Express’
dudhsagar, chennai-express

Movies Shot in Goa

Even though most Indian filmmakers are looking overseas for exotic locations, Goa still remains the favorite destination for many.

Here are some of the popular movies that were shot here:

  • Finding Fanny was shot in various villages across Goa, including Saligao, Parra, Assagao, Aldona, Socorro, and Cortalim.
  • Dudhsagar Waterfalls in ‘Chennai Express’
  • Chapora Fort (Dil Chahta Hai)…not far from Anjuna beach
  • Fort Aguada (Honeymoon Travels)…you’ve to go past Candolim
  • Our Lady Of The Immaculate Conception Church, Panjim (this is the white church in Movie: Josh)
  • Se Cathedral, Old Goa (Singham)
  • St. Augustine Tower, Goa (Singham)
  • India’s first Zombie movie “Go Goa Gone” was also shot extensively in Goa

charpora fort, Goa, dil chahta hai
fort aguada, Goa, honeymoon travels

Se Cathedral, old goa, Singham
Our Lady Of The Immaculate Conception Church, Panjim, Josh

International Film Festival of India (IFFI)

IFFI, goa Besides being a popular tourist destination and a preferred location for shooting movies, Goa is also home to one of the most significant film festivals in Asia — the IFFI.

Held annually in Goa, IFFI aims at providing a common platform for the cinemas of the world, to project the excellence of the film art.

Bollywood Celebs Like to Unwind in Goa

Although Goa may have become more commercialized in recent years, its still the favorite spot for most Bollywood stars. Arshad Warsi, Imtiaz Ali, Malaika Arora Khan, Esha Deol – they all prefer to hit the golden beaches to unwind. Here’s what some of our stars have to say.

  • Imtiaz Ali (director): “Life is not possible for me without Goa. I’d like to live the life of a hippy or a nomad on one of the beaches there. I’d like to just travel around the beaches and villages.”
  • Sonu Sood (actor): “Yes Goa is my favourite holiday spot. I go there every year. I think it’s the liveliest place in the world. Everyone is in the party mode. You forget all your worries. Also, after having shot two films there I can swear there can be no better place to shoot.”
  • Arbaaz Khan (actor): “Goa is definitely my favourite holiday spot. It’s chilled out, not much hustle-bustle. I love the place, people, food, and eating-places. Being close to Mumbai it’s an ideal vacation spot.”
  • Malaika Arora (VJ, actress): “I don’t think there’s any better place to holiday than Goa. I love it! My husband Arbaaz and I always dreamt of owning a home there. And now our dream is coming true.”

Sonam Kapoor in Goa, with friends
Sonam Kapoor in Goa, with friends

Popular Second-Home Destination in India

Goa is also a popular second-home destination in India. Affluent Indians, NRIs & Europeans are attracted to the area for its beaches, laid-back lifestyle, energetic vibes, blend of Indian culture as well as of the West.

Malaika Arora Khan & Arbaaz Khan
The couple who consider Goa to be their ultimate heaven, come here often (along with their son Arhaan) to unwind. They recently bought a Portuguese villa in Goa. Although Malaika would have wished for sea-side property, she’s quite happy that a river flows behind their house. The actress is not keen to make any changes to the old-world appeal of the house. The Khans will have prominent fashion designer & close friend ‘Wendell Rodericks’ as their new neighbour.

Purab Kohli Shifts to Goa
Purab Kohli (featured in rock On, Jal) also shifted to goa. Born and brought up in Mumbai, Purab hated the traffic and the pollution in Mumbai. And with most shoots happening outside Mumbai nowadays, actors really don’t have to be permanently stationed in Mumbai. That’s when Purab decided to move.

Purab says “I haven’t broken away from Mumbai. I come back here whenever work beckons. I don’t see it as a break. Rather it is like figuring out a new level of existence while preserving the old.” says Purab, though even work as an actor no longer requires Purab in Mumbai.

Goa Tourism

Goa has a moderate tropical climate, with temperatures ranging from 30 to 35 degrees (68 to 95 degrees F) year-round. Nov to Jan is the peak season, and the best time to visit Goa (although you do find visitors through out the year).

June to August is the monsoon season, where most visitors avoid travelling to Goa. But if you’re adventurous and like rains, it can be a good time to see the greener side of Goa – spice plantations, lakes, waterfalls, wildlife sanctuaries.

During the drier months, don’t forget to use a high-SPF sunscreen, and wear a hat.

If you’re a visitor in Goa, you may even run into a Bollywood movie shoot.

Top things to do in Goa:

  1. Enjoy the Water Sports such as Banana boating, wind surfing, scuba diving, jet skiing, water skiing, parasailing, and dolphin cruises.
  2. Goa is not all about beaches. Visit Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Dudhsagar Waterfalls.
  3. Visit the various Churches (Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se de Santa Catarina) and Historical Landmarks
  4. Go shopping at the local marketplaces and flea markets
  5. Relish the sea food
  6. Don’t forget to hire a bike. Its the best way to explore Goa.
  7. Spend a night on the beach as most beaches in Goa come to life after the sun has set. Or you may hop from one bar to another or go straight to shacks and sway over the beats of loud music. Or perhaps spend some time (and money) at a Casino (Gambling is legal in Goa)
  8. Want a feel of real India? Go to the heart of Panjim; you can see noisy markets, tiny shops, and even cows on the roads. It may not be exactly like what you see in the movie Slumdog Millionaire but it does give you a glimpse of how things are in India.
  9. Celebrate Christmas & New Year here and enjoy the festive atmosphere of this pre-dominantly Christian state of India.

Goa Tourism

Spectacular Beaches
The most popular (and visited) beaches are Calangute, Baga, Vagator, and Candolim (in north Goa). These are the favorite areas not just for Europeans, but also Indians who holiday here. The tiny villages are lined with several tourist shops and restaurants to suit any budget (meals can range anywhere from $5 to $50).

Beaches in South Goa are less crowded and are spread farther apart; some are owned by the big hotels.

Cathedrals, Churches and Temples
Its the only place in India where you see as many cathedrals and churches as temples. That’s because the Portuguese ruled Goa for more than four centuries (until 1961) and almost one-third Goans are still Christian.

The most visited church is the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa (constructed in the 16th century) where the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, kept in a silver casket, are enshrined. Nearby is St. Cajetan Church, built in 1661 in the style of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

A few miles away near the capital city of Panjim are the two most imposing temples, Shri Mangueshi, dedicated to the Lord Shiva, and Shri Mahalsa, with its exquisite wooden carvings of the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

These are the must-see churches and temples when in Goa.

About Dudhsagar
If you’re keen to visit this place (you must check it out actually if you’re in Goa), remember its towards the Karnataka border and not near the popular beaches. But then Goa is a small state so its about a couple of hours drive only. Its around 60 km from Panaji city by road and 46 km from Madgaon railway junction by train. However, the roads are closed during the rainy season (June to September).

Located on the Mandovi River, Dudhsagar (means ‘Sea of Milk’) falls is a tiered waterfall with a total height of 310 metres (1017 feet) and an average width of 30 metres (100 feet). As the cascading waters appear white like milk, the waterfall is called Dudhsagar, Doodh being the Hindi word for milk. The waterfall is located in the Bhagwan Mahavir Wild Life Sanctuary at Collem in South Goa in the western ghats.

Its one of the world’s most exquisite falls and listed as India’s fifth tallest waterfall.

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