By Ruchika Kher
Mumbai, Sep 9, If you sleep, eat and drink movies and always wanted to get up close with Bollywood, then wait no more. Opt for a special tour package that will take you to film sets, popular shooting locales and even the homes of superstars like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan.
Bollywood Tourism is a company that organises tours so that film enthusiasts can get a peek into the world of the Hindi movie industry. It is proving to be a big draw for Indians as well as tourists from the Middle East, Britain and the US.
“Mumbai as a tourist destination does not have enough to satiate the entertainment quotient of tourists while on the other hand Bollywood has been making waves the world over. This is what made us marry tourism with Bollywood,” Mitali Joshi, coodinator of Bollywood Tourism, told IANS.
“Our market research, which covered hotels and tour operators, only confirmed the idea.”
Their tours take people to see the homes of actors like Amitabh, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh, and Rekha – albeit from the outside, and to film sets like R.K. Studios and Film City.
In the US too, Universal Studios organises day tours, taking movie buffs around sets and historic Hollywood locations.
Apparently, Yash Raj Films (YRF), credited with popularising Switzerland in India by shooting its films there, offers its fans a YRF Enchanted Journey.
It gives consumers an opportunity to visit the original sites and locations in Switzerland used by the studio for its films like “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge”, “Mohabbatein”, “Veer-Zaara”, “Chandni”, “Darr” and “Bachna Ae Haseeno”.
Bollywood Tourism partners with Big ND Studios, Balaji Films’ production house, Whistling Woods film school, Anupam Kher’s acting school, make-up and hair stylists Bharat & Dorris and celebrity photographer Jeetu Savlani.
“We launched this product in February this year after spending one year building relationships and fine-tuning the product. Our tours have become very popular. Till date, we have taken almost 400 tourists on various Bollywood tours,” revealed Joshi.
“Before we threw open the product to the market, we conducted a recce with India’s top in-bound tour operators and hotel concierge. We have also implemented their feedback. On an average, we entertain around 100-150 customers per month,” she added.
Bollywood tourism is not just famous among the people of the country, it also interests foreigners and NRIs visiting India.
“After Indians, we get our maximum tourists from the the Middle East, Germany, France, Britain, the US and Canada,” said Joshi.
“We organise full- and half- day tours. The full- day tour costs Rs.7,000 ($150) per person while the half-day tour costs Rs.5,800 ($125) per person,” she added.
There is no specific age-group that opts for these customised tours, people of all ages go in for them. “We get requests from all ages. Ranging from youngsters to middle aged couples,” informed Joshi.
A banker, who attended one of the tours earlier this month, said: “Bollywood has always been one of my main interests; so when I got to know about this tour, I immediately went in for it. I never imagined I would get such a close view, it was all so accessible.”
So if you want to experience the glitz and glamour of Bollywood like never before, you know where to go.
(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)