You may not have been to Switzerland yet, but if you have seen most of Yash Chopra’s movies, you would know what it looks like. Bollywood’s relationship with Switzerland has always been as enduring as those on-screen romances depicted in Bollywood movies.
But just like the movies, there seems to be a twist in the plot.
It seems the idyllic alpine scenes are making way to other locations, courtesy increased competition from other countries, and to some extent based on artistic factors.
Competition From Other Countries
Switzerland has been Indian cinema’s A-list destination since the 1980s, when most songs would be shot in the Bernese Alps. Since then, several hindi movie scenes have been shot in Switzerland’s snow pack. For long, their alpine mountains used to be the go-to location for Indian cinema.
But with the growth of Bollywood and its demand for new locations, other destinations have been trying hard to woo the Indian filmmakers, and successfully as well.
For example, U.K. is offering several incentives such as cash rebates.
Then there is the Tirol region in neighboring Austria, which is offering financial incentives and also pitching the fact that they have the same mountains and lakes as neighboring Switzerland. The Cine Tirol Film Commission are known to oblige even the most unusual requests from Indian filmmakers.
More Realistic Films Being Made
Besides the financial aspect, the current success of low budget films in Bollywood means producers have become cost-conscious, and also audiences like the films to be a bit more realistic. For instance, in the movie ‘Darr’, in one of the songs, ShahRukh Khan and Kajol are shown dancing outside a house in India in one scene, and then they emerge in Switzerland in another scene. Most filmmakers feel that it is not required today, and probably breaks the continuity of a movie.
More Alternatives Nearby
And to be more practical, romantic dance numbers nowadays are more likely to be shot on the Trafalgar Square rather than on a glacier.
The thawing of relations between India & Pakistan also means that locales such as the Himalayas of Kashmir are more accessible now, and more affordable, and do offer some stunning locales.
With so many choices available to Bollywood filmmakers, unless Switzerland goes out of its way to woo them, you are perhaps going to see less and less of Switzerland in Indian films.
Still a Hit With Indian Tourists
Despite these developments, Switzerland tourism has seen a significant growth in the number of Indian tourists travelling to their country – both families who travel with children and prefer to stay in apartments, as well as the youth who often travels alone.
Sites such as Lavaux vineyards, the Chillon Castle, cities of Laussanne and Montreax, & scenic train rides are very popular with the Indian tourist. Indians also happen to be the most active community on the Switzerland tourism Facebook page.