When I was young and before these days of many travels, I, like most other Indians used to see the country’s attractions through the Indian movies. When I grew up, the television was full of Shammi Kapoor’s ‘Yahoo, chahe koi mujhe jungli kahe’ and Rajesh Khanna’s ‘meri sapno ki rani’. These songs very vividly etched Srinagar’s Dal Lake and Darjeeling’s toy train in my memory. I very clearly remember humming to these tunes when I was a kid and may be it was these songs that laid the travel foundation in me. When I started traveling across India, I visited many of these places and found out from the travel guides out there how the film crew had come here and shot the various movie and/or song sequences. Thus is the connection of the Indian film industry and tourism in India.
A couple of years ago, I went to a remote lake in Western Arunachal Pradesh called the Sangetsar Lake and it is located at about 12,000 feet. Initially, I could hardly find this place, but one of the locals told me that it is now known as Madhuri Jheel after some of the scenes of the Koyla movie were shot here. This movie featured Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit and apparently there was a song sequence here. The people of this place loved Madhuri Dixit so much that they renamed the lake Madhuri Jheel.
Similarly, there have been so many movie scenes and songs that have immortalized certain tourist gems of India. To name a few, Kerala’s Bekal Fort in Mani Ratnam’s Bombay, Karntaka’s Jog Falls in the Kannada Superhit movie Mungaru Male, Kerala’s Athirampally Falls in the recent movie Raavan, Ladakh’s Pangong Tso Lake in the climax scene of 3 Idiots, Goa’s Fort Aguada in Aamir Khan’s Dil Chahta Hai, Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch in Lagaan, Punjab’s mustard fields in Kuch Kuck Hota Hain and so many more.
A lot of these places really became heightened tourist attractions after the movies got released. So, there is no doubting the effect it has on the Indian masses.
There is this new travel guide book about India that has released in the market. It is titled ‘Filmi Escapes :: Travel with the Movies’. Lonely Planet India has been kind enough to send me a complimentary copy of this book and as soon as I opened up the packaging, I could hardly put the book down. The reason is simple. It brought back memories of my childhood, teenage years and adulthood through all the various Indian movies that I have seen. While personally, I have been lucky to visit most of these places in person, most of India just watches them through the movies. This book allows you to live those filmi moments in reality.
Filmi Escapes makes the movie connection, gets you interested, shares travel tips, travel highlights and provides information on hotels and restaurants in that place. In simple words, it helps you plan your filmi vacation. This is a very unlike Lonely Planet book and I have to congratulate Juhi Saklani, the author of this book and Lonely Planet India to have published a book with such a different, yet bold theme.
If you love Indian movies, love to live life filmi style and possess the interest to travel, then the ‘Filmi Escapes’ is for you. It is a simple and colourful filmi story through a travel guide book. A must have for all those who wish to travel India filmi isshtyle!!
Note: This is a personal review of mine based on reading this book and has in no way been influenced by Lonely Planet India, the author or anyone else.
Note: The photo in this post is courtesy of Lonely Planet India.