Many cities are famous for their landmarks, but in Bollywood, filmmakers have their own unique way to view major cities. A single scene can spark the city’s name in our minds in a second. Let us take a tour of some of the well-known cities and their filmy landmarks.
A filmmaker’s delight since the black and white era, Delhi happens to be one of the most researched and showcased cities in India. You will never get tired of seeing the Hanuman Temple, Qutub Minar, Red Fort or India Gate in movies. After the 90s, many directors chose the city as their location. For example, Rang De Basanti told the story of a bunch of students from Delhi University. Delhi 6 was a film about a man discovering his identity through the city of Delhi. The raunchy, rebel city of Delhi is here to stay, and Bollywood directors return to it again and again.
Landmarks: Hanuman Mandir, Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, Purana Qila.
Mumbai is fondly called the “city of dreams”, because many people come here to make it big. It is the home of the Hindi film industry, and has some of the best shooting locations. For a romantic walk, there is Marine Drive. For a proposal, there is the Gateway of India. The city has everything on its platter. The Akshay Kumar starrer Holiday was shot extensively in the city, and Aamir Khan captured the Dhobighat in a unique way. Other Mumbai-based stories include Wake Up Sid, Black Friday, City Lights and Once Upon a Time in Mumbai. The evergreen city remains the apple of Bollywood’s eyes.
Landmarks: Gateway of India, Marine Drive, and the Dharavi slums that featured in the Hollywood blockbuster Slumdog Millionaire
The city of joy is neither patient nor laid back. Kolkata is intriguing, layered and impulsive. Kolkata is not merely the Howrah Bridge or Victoria Memorial. Now, it is more of Kahaani’s Kalighat, and Gunday’s high court and maach bazaar. For many directors, the influence of Kolkata is mesmerising. If searching for the softer side of the city, Barfi captures it best.
Landmarks: Howrah Bridge, Victoria Memorial.
Hyderabad is the perfect mix of the old and the modern. Much cheaper to live in than Mumbai or Delhi, Hyderabad has become a favourite among filmmakers in the past two to three years. It offers everything: an urban setting in the hitech parts of the city, old charm with the Charminar, lakes and palaces to add some more variety. Daawat-e-Ishq and Bobby Jasoos were some of the earliest films set here. Hyderabad also has the biggest film city in India, the Ramoji Film City.
Landmarks: Charminar, Gandhipet, Golconda Fort.
Last but not least, the city of Benares or Varanasi is a big part of Indian culture. Every part of this ancient city attracts flocks of visitors. Starting with Aparajito by Satyajit Ray, the city has caught the fancy of many directors. Recently, with the movie Raanjhanaa, Banaras once again came to the fore. Assi Ghat, the old Ramnagar Haveli, the terrace of Manmandir, and the Banaras Hindu University are some of the well-known sights here.
Landmarks: Assi Ghat, Banaras Hindu University, Kashi Vishwanath Temple.