A striking country with bustling cities, ancient palaces and enchanting wildlife, it’s no wonder India is so often immortalised on screen. A favourite destination of filmmakers, its vibrant landscapes and varied architecture are endlessly beguiling. While Bollywood is one of the largest film industries in the world, the West has long had a cinematic love affair with the subcontinent. Here’s a look at five of the most famous film locations in India.
The Life of Pi, Kerala
A charming film adaptation of Yann Martel’s popular novel based upon the friendship between a Bengal tiger and young Indian man while castaway aboard a lifeboat, The Life of Pi owes much of its visuals to green-screen technology. Nevertheless, many of its other scenes were shot in Pondicherry, on the eastern coast, as well as in the southern state of Kerala, known for its tropical palm-lined beaches and tea plantations.
The Darjeeling Limited, Jodhpur
Director Wes Anderson is known for his hyper-visual and colourful sets (often handcrafted himself), so India was a perfect location for his epic train journey film, The Darjeeling Limited. Following the lives of three brothers on a gaff-filled quest to spiritual enlightenment, the film takes in splendid vistas of Jodhpur, Rajasthan and Udaipur along the way.
Million Dollar Arm, Agra
Million Dollar Arm is based on the true story of baseball pitchers, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, who were discovered by a struggling American sports agent on a reality TV show he conceived to turn cricketers into world class baseball players. Filmed in the busy streets of Mumbai and Agra, around the Taj Mahal, Million Dollar Arm captures the frenetic pace of India’s urban environments and tranquillity of the Taj Mahal.
Slumdog Millionaire, Mumbai
Probably one of the most famous films to be set in India, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire tells the rags-to-riches tale of Jamal Malik from Mumbai’s Juhu slums winning the Indian version of quiz show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Filming took place in Dharavi slums in Mumbai, considered to be the largest in Asia, housing almost a million people to a square mile.
Given James Bond’s globetrotting exploits, it’s only natural his adventures would take him to India one day. Octopussy sees Roger Moore tracking exiled Afghan prince, Kamal Khan to his Rajasthan palace (the Monsoon Palace) where he discovers his smuggler associate, Octopussy. The film leads Bond on a whistle-stop tour of various India hotspots like Udaipur, The Lake Palace Hotel in Lake Pichola and Shiv Niwas Palace on the lake’s shore.
If these stunning films have inspired you to visit India to experience its beauty and culture then click here to discover our exciting Indian guided tours.
Image Credits: Cover image: © iStock/Mazzzur. Lake Palace Hotel: © iStock/Mlenny. Mumbai slum: © iStock/fiocu. Taj Mahal: © iStock/ferrantraite. Jodhpur: © iStock/powerofforever. Kerala:© iStock/THEPALMER.