Bollywood in spotlight with Indian tourist drive

A Bollywood crew film in the shadow of the Bass Rock. Picture: Esme Allen
A Bollywood crew film in the shadow of the Bass Rock. Picture: Esme Allen
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A MISSION to attract more of India’s 1.3 billion potential holidaymakers to Scotland is being launched – aided by a Bollywood map of the Capital.

Promoters from VisitScotland will jet out to the subcontinent later this month to sell Scotland to would-be visitors and entice the masses using a map of movies filmed in the Capital and elsewhere.

The foreign trip is part of a drive dubbed Emerging Markets aiming to attract 
visitors from relatively 
untapped countries.

Since the turn of the century more than a dozen Bollywood films have been shot in the city with several more filmed around East Lothian and the rest of Scotland.

In 2010, the Capital was selected to host a major Bollywood production starring Indian heartthrob Shahid Kapoor because of its passing similarity to Kashmir – which was ruled out for security reasons.

During filming, an obsessive female fan is said to have gone to the length of seeking a job in the hotel Kapoor was staying in order to stalk him.

The city has appeared in a string of Bollywood films but locations in East Lothian, such as Tantallon Castle and Dirleton Castle, have also appealed to Indian filmmakers.

Favourite haunts in South Queensferry such as the The Ferry Tap pub and The Hawes Inn have also featured, while Silverknowes promenade and Edinburgh Central Mosque have been selected as backdrops.

Vineet Lal, senior marketing manager of Emerging Markets at VisitScotland, said: “Bollywood filmmakers have an enduring love affair with Edinburgh and the Lothians, with stunning locations such as Edinburgh Castle making numerous appearances in Indian cinema.

“Bollywood features extravagant, larger-than-life dance numbers, so landmarks such as the Castle, the Scott Monument and the Forth bridges are a perfect fit.

“But Edinburgh does not just serve as a backdrop for musical sequences, with the Capital playing an integral part in the narrative in films such as Mausam, which features locations such as the Royal Mile, the Grassmarket, the Usher Hall and the Assembly Rooms.

“Our Bollywood Scotland map is the perfect way for visitors to dance in the footsteps of their favourite Bollywood stars.”

The Emerging Markets team has recently flown the flag for Scotland in Australia, Japan and China hosting networking events and golf days to promote Scotland as the cradle of the sport. It has also travelled to Russia as part of a separate sales drive.

Bollywood films are a key component of Indian popular culture and can cost up to 
£10 million to produce. Sequences shot overseas have proved popular, so Mumbai film crews are increasingly filming in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, the US, continental Europe and elsewhere.