Bollywood producers have long been fond of filming in exotic foreign locations, but the spiraling Indian currency has seen spending on movie sets abroad drop by one third, according to a recent study.
So now the falling rupee is taking a toll on film production as well, especially those who intended to shoot extensively in Europe & America.
Traditionally, several Bollywood producers have opted for foreign sets. The late filmmaker Yash Chopra preferred a Swiss mountain backdrop, which turned Switzerland into a popular tourist destination for well-heeled Indians.
But now, it seems our filmmakers are looking for cheaper alternatives so that they can still shoot within their budget. Though, this might be a temporary phenomenon, the fact is that the rupee has fallen significantly against major global currencies.
India & South-East Asia Are the Gainers
Even though the falling rupee may not stop big budget films from being made abroad, they definitely might cut corners instead of choosing to cancel a schedule. Its the relatively smaller production houses that are forced to consider cheaper alternatives.
And the gainers in this situation are locales such as Kashmir, Kerala, Rajasthan, and lesser expensive destinations in south-east Asia, Middle East and South Africa.
Filming in India
Though using software & scenic photos (from abroad) for the backdrop could work, most producers are not so keen on doing so. Although they would have preferred filming in exotic foreign locations, many are now considering picturesque domestic locations such as the northern Kashmir and southern Kerala states.
An increasing number of Bollywood films are shunning foreign locations in favor of remote locations (rarely exposed parts) in India. Not only it makes financial sense, even the logistical costs are lower.
But, an important reason that more films are getting shot in remote locations of India, is because the story-line itself is changing. With more focus on relationships and the plots getting more realistic, it doesn’t make much of a difference if the picture is set in Delhi or in Dallas.
Go Local Temporarily?
Those still filming abroad, especially mid to low budget movies, are looking for cheaper alternatives to Europe and the United States, such as Sri Lanka, Dubai and Thailand.
And its not just the locations, the producers are also looking at budget accommodation options abroad, and also trying to reduce the number of days within which to finish their shooting schedules.
It seems for most Bollywood filmmakers, countries such as the US, Britain, Germany, France, Sweden, Italy, Ireland, Denmark, & Australia, are going to be of their radar for some time. We just hope & pray that the scenario changes, for the better, in the next few months!