Although Bollywood is growing by the day and the popularity of our stars such as Shahrukh is increasing across continents, India is still in awe of Hollywood (actually it applies to other countries as well). Its indeed a big deal when the Hollywood biggies decide to shoot their films outside the US.
Arnold Schwarzenegger recently shot part of his ‘Terminator’ film in South India. ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ recently finished shooting in Chennai. In tha past, there have been few more Hollywood movies that were filmed in India.
Here we take a look at the Hollywood movies where the directors have tried to put India on the global map.
Some of these movies make you proud, some come as a surprise (not publicly known fact), and for some movies you just wish they had shown the country in a better light (you’ll feel that way if you’re an Indian, although reality hurts).
Here are Hollywood films that were shot in India, some of these may come as a surprise to you.
Million Dollar Arm
The movie is about a sports agent trying to get talented Indian cricket players to play Major League Baseball in the US. It was shot in Mumbai (Jamboree Maidan), Lucknow (Lucknow university campus) and the Taj Mahal, Agra .
Based on the founder of Apple ‘Steve Jobs’, the movie had scenes that were filmed in India – Hauz khas complex & Safdarjung Tomb, Delhi.
Zero Dark Thirty
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow (onky woman to win the Oscar Award), its about hunting down Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. However, because the crew did not get permission to shoot there, the movie was shot in Chandigarh (Manimajra fort, Punjab Engineering College premises in Sector 12, DAV College canteen in Sector 10).
Manimajra in Chandigarh, India shown as Abbottabad in Pakistan in the movie Zero Dark Thirty
Life of Pi
Oscar award winning film Life of Pi (Directed by Ang Lee) was partly filmed in Pondicherry and in Munnar (Kerala) in India. Pondicherry (now known as Puducherry) was a former french colony, so you can see the blending of French and Indian cultures here. In the movie, the Botanical Gardens was transformed into Pi’s family’s zoo. You can even see the Pondicherry pier, and the town’s idyllic French Quarter serves as the backdrop for several sequences in the film. You can even see the green tea plantations of Munnar in some scenes.
Old Pondicherry pier in one of the scenes in Life of Pie
The Dark Knight Rises
Christopher Nolan loved Rajasthan and its beautiful locations when he was in India. For ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, the jail escape scene of Batman was shot at the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, Chand Baori at Abhaneri.
The jail escape scene in the movie Dark knight Rises was shot at mehrangarh fort in jodhpur
Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol
The climax scenes were shot in the by-lanes of Bora Bazaar, Mumbai. A couple of scenes were also shot in the Sun TV office, Bengaluru. There was a lot of hype about Anil Kapoor’s role in the movie, which turned out be minuscule in the end.
Oscar award winning movie Slumdog Millionaire (directed by Danny Boyle) showed the slums of Mumbai, railway stations, and many more places (Dharavi, CST station & Taj Mahal Agra). Indians of-course didn’t like the poor depiction of India and Indians.
A Mighty Heart
Based on Daniel Pearl (the Wall Street Journal journalist who was kidnapped and killed by Al Qaida), the crew didn’t get permission to shoot in Karachi, Pakistan. Hence the filmmakers decided to shoot in Pune (Sindh society) and Mumbai (Gateway of India & Churchgate station). Angelina Jolie played the role of the widow, Martane Pearl (the movie is an adaptation of her book).
The Bourne Supremacy
‘The Bourne Supremacy’ (The second of the Bourne series – 2004) had a few scenes that were shot in Goa. You get to see a high-speed chase (featuring Matt Damon) through the lanes of a Goan town.
Eat Pray Love
Julia Roberts played the lead in this movie, which was partly shot in India, at the Ashram Hari Mandir in Pataudi, Haryana.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Starring Judie Dench, Maggie Smith and Dev Patel, the movie was shot in Jaipur (Railway station, Airport, Castle Kanota) and Udaipur (Ravla Khempur & Taj Lake palace) in Rajasthan. The sequel to the movie, titled “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” also has sequences that have been filmed in India, but captures mostly the sights, sounds, smells and traffic, that are part of the country’s culture.
Starring Jackie Chan & Mallika Sherawat, the movie was partly shot in India near Hampi, Karnataka.
Starring Kate Winslet, the movie was shot in Paharganj in Delhi and Pushkar in Rajasthan, India.
Directed by Roland Joffé (of The Killing Fields and The Mission fame) and starring Josh Hartnett (& Bipasha Basu in a small role), the movie was partly shot in Madhya Pradesh’s Orchha region, Gwalior, & Chambal Valley.
The 1983 James Bond movie had a couple of scenes shot in a palace in Udaipur, Rajasthan. The movie also featured Kabir Bedi in a small role.
The Darjeeling Limited
Starring Adrien Brody (of ‘The Pianist’ fame), Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman, the movie was extensively shot in Udaipur and Jodhpur in Rajasthan.
Directed by Shekhar Kapur, the movie was shot in India, because of its theme.
Starring Josh Hamilton & Ayesha Dharker, the movie is about an American salesman who heads to India to train his replacement.
City of Joy
Starring Patrick Swayze, Pauline Collins, Om Puri, the movie was filmed in and around Calcutta in West Bengal.
Starring Pierce Brosnan, Shashi Kapoor, Saeed Jaffrey, the movie was shot in India as well. Its based on the Thuggee movement in India during British imperial rule.
This Oscar award winning movie (directed by Richard Attenborough, starring Ben Kingsley) was shot across various locations in India.
Movies Not Filmed in India
Based on Alexander the Great (starring Colin Farrell), the movie was actually NOT shot in India at all (contrary to what many think); it was shot in Thailand. The river scenes were shot in Ubon Ratchathani province on the Mekhong River in Thailand, near the Laos border. Thailand was also preferred because of the availability of trained Asian elephants that were needed to stage a battle scene. Read more here…
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Even this movie was NOT shot in India, it was shot in Sri Lanka (to make it appear like India), since govt. of India denied permission to the producers as the story depicted Hinduism.
Jon Hamm Gets a Taste of India
Though India can offer some great locations for filming, you still have to take into account the best time to shoot at those places. For the movie ‘Million Dollar Arm’, Jon Hamm shot in India during the summer months, and was literally sweating like a pig during the filming. Despite the advice of Bollywood stars, the crew had to shoot during summer because of the time constraints. May in India is literally the hottest month with temperatures topping 40 degrees Celsius. Even Bollywood goes indoors during this period. Unfortunately for the ‘Million Dollar Arm’ team, the crew and stars had to struggle not just with the heat when they were in India, some of them were down with digestive problems as well. When it comes to food, you have to be a bit careful!
Uday Chopra would like to direct a film in India, and not abroad
Actor-producer Uday Chopra, who recently produced (jointly with other players) Hollywood film “Grace Of Monaco” (featuring Nicole Kidman), has plans to direct a film, but in India and not abroad. Although he has access to Hollywood and spends a lot of time in Los Angeles, he thinks it will be easier for him to direct a film in India, although it could take few more years. Nevertheless, Uday says that the film will definitely have an international flavor, but made in Indian language.