Hooray for Bollywood and its Scottish links

Indian visitors to Scotland are being encouraged to dance in the footsteps of their favourite Bollywood stars.

In an attempt to attract more tourists VisitScotland has researched and created a special online map, Bollywood Scotland, which highlights dozens of Scottish locations that provide stunning backdrops for some of Bollywood’s most iconic musical sequences.

bollywood map

Photograph by: VisitScotland James Glossop

Producers of Bollywood films, which are famous for their extravagant song-and-dance routines, have been flocking to Scotland since 1998, filming on location in places such as Edinburgh Castle, Tantallon Castle, Glasgow’s George Square and Glen Coe.

A host of Bollywood megastars, including former Miss World Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan, have shot scenes in Scotland with Stirling Castle, Linlithgow Palace, Culzean Castle and Traquair House among many locations to have appeared on the big screen in both India and around the world.

Research has shown that 40 per cent of visitors to the UK are inspired to come here after seeing it on film or on television.

In total, the map showcases 23 Indian films that have been shot in Scotland, including the groundbreaking movies that kick-started the trend: screen legend Dev Anand’s Main Solah Baras Ki (1998) (Sweet Sixteen) and Karan Johar’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) (Something Happens in My Heart), which featured iconic landmarks including Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Eilean Donan Castle in the Highlands and Crossraguel Abbey in Ayrshire.

Indian troupe Dance Ihayami

Photograph by: VisitScotland James Glossop

India’s growing potential number of high-spending, luxury-seeking consumers, who are drawn to Scotland’s castles, landscapes and whisky, represent a strong emerging market with Scotland currently welcoming around 34,000 visitors a year.

Qatar Airways, sponsors of the Bollywood Scotland map, has recently announced that services between Edinburgh and Doha will be become daily from 1 May 2015. This will allow customers even greater flexibility and travel options between India and Scotland.

“Bollywood film-makers have an enduring love affair with our cities, castles, lochs and glens, making Scotland the perfect stage for their dreamy love songs and elaborate dance numbers,” said Vineet Lal, VisitScotland’s Senior Marketing Manager for Emerging Markets.

“While Scotland has often starred as a backdrop for musical sequences, it increasingly plays an integral part in the narrative in films such as Edinburgh-set Mausam (2011) and the Loch Ness-based thriller Three: Love Lies Betrayal (2009). This map will give prospective Indian visitors yet another reason to visit Scotland and step into the magical world of Bollywood.”