Bollywood comes to Queenstown
11 Dec 2009
Indian Bollywood producers Dharma Productions will film in Queenstown in late January 2010, putting New Zealand on screen in front of up to 150 million viewers.
The feature film I Hate Luv Stories, starring Bollywood heart-throb Imran Khan and the beautiful Sonam Kapoor, is due for release in May 2010, and has already been noted by critics as a film to watch out for.
Showcasing New Zealand
Tourism New Zealand’s acting chief executive Tim Hunter says the opportunity to showcase New Zealand, and for media coverage in India, is huge.
"The movie itself will attract a huge audience but the media surrounding the filming and the release will also present great opportunities for promoting New Zealand as a visitor destination," Hunter said.
During the filming in January, Tourism New Zealand will also be hosting Indian media who will follow the two lead actors as they participate in tourist activities in the Queenstown area.
Although the itinerary and filming schedule hasn’t yet been released, the visitors will have plenty to choose from - Queenstown is considered the adventure capital of New Zealand and offers a wide range of experiences from bungy jumping, jet boating, world-class skiing and snowboarding to spectacular scenery, gourmet food and local wines.
The backdrop of The Remarkables mountain range, the crystal clear waters of Lake Wakatipu, and surrounding unspoilt countryside has attracted many major international film-makers, and the region has featured in big screen blockbusters as well as popular international television series such as The Bachelor.
Part of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was also filmed in the Queenstown region and fans continue to visit specifically to walk on the ground trodden by their heroes, heroines and the horses that carried them.
Dharma Productions is based in Mumbai, and the top international Bollywood film company has many high rating films to its credit.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Heartbeat), the directional debut of Karan Johar (son of Dharma founder, Mr Yash Johar) was the first Indian feature film to figure in the UK Top 10 (1998) and won several national and international awards.
The company also produced Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham - the highest grossing Indian film in the UK and USA, making its debut at No 3 in the UK behind Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
Another successful Dharma production, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (Never Say Goodbye) is famous for raising debate on the changing views of marriage in India. The movie is the highest earning Indian film in the overseas market with record-breaking sales of US$30 million to date. It also holds the distinction of having the biggest opening in the history of Indian cinema.
Dharma Production’s profile was further enhanced with Dostana (Friendship) released in November 2008. Another box office hit that has grossed US$20 million to date, Dostana pushed the boundaries and initiated debates all over India on the issue of homosexuality which was illegal until recently in that country.
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