Tajikistan’s Dramatic Highland Landscape Beckons Bollywood

Tajikistan’s Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi recently requested his Indian counterpart, Hamid Ansari, to promote Tajik locations among Indian film-makers.

He stressed that both these countries are culturally and linguistically close to each other, with their relations going back quite a few centuries.

Bollywood Movies Shot in Tajikistan

You’ll be surprised to know that part of a Bollywood film has already been shot in this country located in central Asia, but you probably may not have noticed it because it doubled as Afghanistan in the movie.

Aamir Khan’s movie ‘The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey’ (one of his very few movies that didn’t do well at the Box Office in recent times) had a small portion which was shot in Tajikistan. The terrain of Tajikistan allows it to easily double for Afghanistan, in terms of looks, and its much safer to film a movie there.

The British war in Afghanistan (1853) where Mangal rescues Gordon was shot in the tiny village of Aychi in Tajikistan; the village is located near the Afghanistan border.


Aamir Khan's The rising shot in Tajikistan

Director Ketan Mehta chose Aychi in Tajikistan because it had a terrain similar to Afghanistan from the 19th century, and he also didn’t want any security related issues in Afghanistan.

Filmmakers who’re looking for predominately rugged mountains with stunning valleys may definitely consider this country. Locations of particular interest to filmmakers and photographers include the Pamir Mountains, Alai Mountains, Shahristan, Lake Kara-Kul, Muragazor Lakes, Silk Road mountain and desert looks, and wheat fields. Nurek Hydroelectric Dam is one of the tallest artificial dams in the world.

Facts About Tajikistan

Here are some facts about this country:

  • Tajikistan (known officially as the Republic of Tajikistan) is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia.
  • It was part of the erstwhile Soviet Union
  • It borders Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east.
  • Its Capital City is Dushanbe
  • Tajikistan Economy

    Economically, Tajikistan is among the poorest country in Central Asia today, with foreign revenue dependent on remittances from migrant workers overseas and exports of aluminium and cotton.

    As far as the entertainment segment is concerned, though it’s closer to China, Indian films are quite popular in Tajikistan, compared to Chinese films.

    Scenic Locations in Tajikistan

    Tajikistan is home to several glaciers and pristine rivers.

    The Varzob gorge, located on the east bank of the Varzob river, just 25 km from the Tajik capital, is a scenic gorge that comes alive in the spring and summer months. You can find several resorts that flank the various rivers and streams that pass through the region.

    Then there’s the Hisor fortress, located in the historic city of Hisor (15 km to the west of Dushanbe), which used to be the residence of the delegate of the Emir of Bukhara.

    As per Tajik Foreign Minister, the pristine locales can easily rival some of the European countries, including Switzerland. And he is aware of the fact that Switzerland is one of the favorite shooting locations for Indian film-makers.

    Indian Films Are Popular in Tajikistan

    Tajiks love Indian culture and Bollywood films, which are routinely shown on TV channels in this country.

    Hundreds of Indian films are dubbed every year in the Tajik language (which is closer to Persian). Even several Indian tunes are copied in mass, for the local Tajik music market.

    If you are an Indian who happens to be in this country and hear Tajik music, you’ll appreciate how close it sounds to Indian music.

    Checkout this Tajik Song:

    And what about our Bollywood stars?

    They are all popular here, especially the Kapoors and Khans. They all are aware that Raj Kapoor was born in Peshawar.

    So What Are The Challenges

    Bollywood, of late, has been scouting for new and unique locations so this Tajik offer to Bollywood does seem to be a good proposition.

    The only hitch is that there’s NO direct flight from India to the capital city of Dushanbe, which otherwise should be just around three hours away.

    But then, it could change in the future.

    And may be its just a matter of time before our Bollywood Divas are dancing at exotic locations in Tajikistan.

    Checkout more about Tajikistan here…