Travelling with cinema—iconic film locations around the world

Movieverse- Part I

Any good storyteller can turn your mind towards a unique experience. It not necessarily is a world-famous blogger/explorer. My grandfather who went on a pilgrimage to Varanasi, wrote a diary every day for 30 days during the trip. That Diary is one of the best travel blogs I ever read. My Atte( aunt) Shanthakka, who narrates her travels across Gangotri in an enthralling way, made me wonder why I did only 2 of Chardham. Indian Mythological stories where Lord Vishnu cut goddess Parvathi’s body into 51 pieces which fell on earth and became sacred sites- If we follow all these sites (including the ones in Pakistan), I would have an epic travel life.

Lastly Cinema! The greatest and most accessible inspiration for us is Movies. Game of Thrones to Tamil movie 96 – we love it all. And we dream of travelling to those film locations around the world

Here is the journey of two Traveloholics who are also movie maniacs, chasing those film locations around the world

Where was Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani shooting location?

Hindi Film locations around the world 1 – APKGK in Pamukkale, Turkey

As a young, dating couple, we had a big difference of opinion on Music. Ashrith listened to Iron Maiden; I admired John Denver. He would play Dr Rajkumar’s songs while I changed them to P B Srinivas’s. The argument about Sona Mohapatra or Shreya Ghoshal was never-ending. We never had one song that we both considered “Nice” until the Tu Jaane Na was released.

The melody was soulful. Filming was done magically. As an architect, I recognised the ancient Roman theatre and fallen columns where Katrina and Ranbir romanced in their black dress. But that turquoise water on snow-like terraces looked unrealistic. 15 minutes of research led us to the real film location on the internet in 2010. Back then, we didn’t know when we would get married. But we were certain about our Honeymoon destination in Turkey. 2010 dream came true in 2018.

Where was Dil Dhadakne Do filmed?

HIndi Film locations around the world 2 – DDD in Cappadocia, Turkey

Seasoned globe traveller considers the land of Fairytale Chimneys as touristy. But for beginners like us and many Indians, who hadn’t heard of Cappadocia, Dil Dhadakne introduced us to this “Alien-ish heaven” of the earth in 2015. Ranveer Singh riding in the hot air balloon ride added more fuel to our Turkish travel dream.

When did AC origins take place?

As an architect, history buff and teacher, I needed nobody to inspire me to Egypt. What I read and taught made me dream of seeing the mighty Pyramids every day. Being a computer geek and gamer, Ashrith had a brainwave by Assassin’s Creed Origins. While he was accomplishing missions, he had to climb the Pyramids, slide down the pyramids and look for treasures in the temple. The colours, their unique hieroglyphs, made him curious. He wanted to touch them and see Egypt in real by the time he accomplished his final mission. Two months after this, the two (over)excited souls were jumping around the Egyptian Pyramids and talking non-stop about how Bayek looted treasures in the temples.

Was Suraj Hua Maddham shot in Egypt?

Hindi Film locations around the world 3 – K3G in White Desert, Egypt.

After deciding on Egypt for the winter vacation, we wanted to add an “offbeat” twist. The search on the internet was on. One morning, while eating Dosa at home, Ashrith mentioned a unique location of the ACO mission that was totally white and had weird formations. He wondered if that location exists in reality. We thought we would look for that place after eating a few more Benne Dosas and continued watching TV. The universe heard us, and a music channel played one of the most famous Bollywood songs, “Suraj Hua Maddham”, from Kabhie Kushi Kabhi Gham. We had watched/ heard this song millions of times before. But this time, we noticed that the song begins in front of Egypt’s pyramids. Slowly, SRK & Kajol were romancing in a desert that looked as if Snow queen exploded, and the explosions froze in time to form mysterious formations.

That romantic love song became a travel vlog of 5 minutes. Without wasting time, we looked for the filming locations of K3G, and there we camped in the most mysterious-looking beautiful place on earth in the White deserts of Bahariya Oasis a month later.

Was the Last Crusade filmed at Petra?

English Film locations around the world 3 – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in Petra

We can’t be movie maniacs if we haven’t enjoyed watching the old classic- Indian Jones series. The world knows Petra as the “Magic land of Nabateans” For us; it is where Indiana Jones finds the Holy Grail. Every time we thought of Jordanian exploration, the cost of living for tourists scared us. The desire to follow Indian Jones was alive still. Later, Kannada actor Yash filmed a song there. Hrithik Roshan also danced along with Kangana there. The Jordanian holiday desire grew stronger each time a new scene/song filmed in Petra appeared. Finally, we made enough (a lot of money) to sustain in Jordan for a few days, and we hit the trail Siq following the footsteps of Indiana Jones.

Where were the desert scenes filmed in The Martian?

Hindi Film locations around the world 4 -The Martian in Wadirum

Most of us easily assume when we see good cinematography in unusual locations saying – “oh, this can’t be a real place. It looks like another planet. Very good VFX team had worked on this film” When our Jordan plan was getting concrete, the old classic “Saving Private Ryan” was coming on a TV Channel. Laughing at the number of times Matt Damon’s character gets rescued, we began to binge-watch his movies. The Martian movie’s Mars looked like a perfectly designed set or excellent VFX. While researching Petra and Jordan, we learned that Wadi Rum is where many parts of The Martian were filmed. We were sure of Jordan’s exploration with no further delay and added WadiRum to our itinerary. A few months later, the desert Jeep driver Ali took us to the exact location where Matt Damon’s character sat trapped on Mars.

Where did they film Chaar Kadam song from PK?

Hindi Film locations around the world 5 – PK in Bruges

The movie Queen, filmed in Amsterdam, has won most Indian’s hearts. Our purpose in going to Amsterdam was to meet a friend from Istanbul. We had no plans other than strolling and grasping the Amsterdam vibe in the old city. Our buddy Keerthi who knows our movie craze well, said-” That song from Pk is filmed in a nearby town of Belgium. Let us go” I watched the song immediately, and I knew we both would love this “most romantic town of Belgium- Bruges.”

What country was Game of Thrones filmed in?

Game of thrones filming locations around the world 5 – Sky Cells in Meteora Greece

James Bond movie locations around the world – For your eyes only in Meteora

We were at Meteora to witness one of the most phenomenal sunsets in the world. Little did we know was, the 1981 Bond film “For your eyes only” was filmed there. While exploring the areas with a local tour guide that evening, he said – “This is where GOT creators wanted to film a scene – The best of all characters of GOT Tyrian Lannister’s imprisonment by Lysa Arryn. The monastery authorities denied the permission, so GOT created a similar set-up in VFX.”

Where did The Professor meet Tokyo in Money Heist?

Money Heist filming locations – Pattaya in Thailand

The only reason I went to Pattaya with my mom was to see the sanctuary of Truth. I had no clue back then that, Professor from Money Heist would meet the character Tokyo here. After I came back and began to watch Season 3 of Money Heist, the scene where Tokyo stands in front of the temple was a shocker.

Where was three idiots filmed?

HIndi film locations around the world 7: The last scene was filmed in Ladakh

There were only countable Indian movies/songs filmed in Ladakh Region. Once Raj Kumar Hirani showed us what heaven on earth looks like in the movie 3 Idiots, Ashrith was on his bike to Ladakh four months later. Like Ashirth, hundreds of Indians flock to Ladakh now just to click that picture where Pia kisses Rancho, which has led to over-tourism.

Where was Lagaan filmed?

HIndi film locations around the world 8: Lagaan in Kutch Gujarath.

According to SMDB (Sahana Movie Data Base), the three finest actresses in world Cinema are Meryl Streep, Anne Hathway, and Deepika Padukone. When I saw the Musical Drama “Ram-Leela” directed by opulent movie maker Sanjay Leela Bhansali and starring Deepika Padukone, I was stunned by Gujarat’s traditions, artefacts and dresses. When I read about Anju Modi, Ram–Leela’s costume designer, I fell in love with the Kutch region. The mirror-worked blouses called Kanjari, Rogan art, and hand block printing amused me most. Watching Lagaan as a kid, I wondered why those houses in the movie were circular. As a student, I learned about the Bhunga mud houses. Art+architecture, – I realised what I wanted to experience in Gujarat and booked the tickets to Rann Utsav next week.

Was Barfi filmed in Darjeeling?

HIndi cinema locations around the world 8: Barfi in Drjeeling

Darjeeling has been a famous tourist destination since British Raj. Somehow I wasn’t keen on exploring the” Queen of Indian Hills” until I watched Barfi. The filmmaker, Anurag Basu’s style of making, and capturing Darjeeling’s true essence, made me rethink my notions about Darjeeling as an over touristy location filled with cuddling honeymooners. My favourite scene was Ranbir Kapoor using a wooden plank with wheels to run on the railway track. The ancient steam Engine, rooftop cafe Keventers, and the Colonial architecture beautifully captured in the movie had to be experienced personally. So I did it in 2018 February.

Love Mocktail & Kyaatanamakki.

I am talking about the place just 30km from my hometown, a green paradise! I have hiked and trekked in and around my home town. But, I was never too keen on this epitome of Green paradise. A hilltop called “Khyaatana Makki” until I watched a Kannada movie “Love Mocktail” Thank God, before knowing it from a foreign blogger, I went and spent four splendid hours peacefully on this green heaven hilltop.

Many more movies have inspired us to travel worldwide and to India. Our time to go there hasn’t come yet. An Indian can’t be “not inspired” by DDLJ to travel in Switzerland. Tamasha’s movie filmed in Corsica, The Gerua in Iceland, has made many Indians explore those places. Kolkatta, the highlight of movies like Piku and Bulbbul, is surely on our bucket list. Telugu song called Telusa -filmed in Bolivia, has made us save money exclusively for South American travel. The real Game of Thrones Locations in Morocco, Spain and Iceland are on our wishlist. Avengers, Devil Wears Prada, Sex& the city have made lust over New York. Gladiator movie filming locations in Italy and Morocco are another set of our dreams.

Which film locations in the world you dream of travelling? Let us know in the comment section below.

Published by Sahana Kulur

Traveller | Blogger | Architecture and history

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