Some time back the Swiss authorities decided to install a statue of Sridevi in Switzerland. The news brought the memories of an enthralling dance sequence by the superstar in the film ‘Chandni’. Clad in a sari, Sridevi looked stunning as she danced against the backdrop of breathtaking scenic beauty of Switzerland. The legendary film maker Yash Chopra was the director of the block buster movie whose sculpture, holding a camera in his hand, stands at Interlaken in Switzerland, the place where he shot romantic scenes of many of his films.
Yash Chopra was not the only Bollywood director to have been smitten by the pristine beauty and tranquility of Switzerland. In fact, the long standing association of Hindi film industry with the Alpine nation dates back to 1960s. Raj Kapoor’s ‘Sangam’ (1964) was the first Bollywood movie to be shot in the scenic beauty of Switzerland, followed by ‘An Evening in Paris’ (1967). Ever since then, Bollywood directors have been making a beeline to Switzerland to capture its scenic beauty. In dozens of Bollywood movies the most romantic interludes, passionate songs and dream sequence have been shot in picturesque Switzerland.
Thanks to Bollywood films, Switzerland is a ‘romantic paradise’, a ‘dream destination’ for every upwardly mobile Indian. Hundreds of Indian tourists visit Switzerland every summer, not just the honeymooners but also, not so young and even the old, who may not have been able to fulfill their dream in their youth. So heavy is the Indian footfall in the snowcapped country that the signboard of toilets at many of the tourist centric railway stations in Switzerland are written in multiple languages including not just Hindi, and also many regional Indian languages. Also, don’t be surprised to find a large number of Indian restaurants in Switzerland, more than a dozen at Interlaken, the place in and around which a number Bollywood chart busters were shot.
Mount Titlis, situated at the height of around 10,000 feet is another hugely popular tourist destination in Switzerland which can be accessed through a cable car system in three phases. An eight seater cable car transports the tourists from Engelberg, a serene pictorial resort town to the sub-station. From there, rotating cable car takes them to the summit station while they enjoy magnificent view of snowy mountains and green hilly pastures along the way. The passengers complete the last leg of the journey on ice-flyer chair lift for an exhilarating ride to the icy glacier. Hundreds of Indian tourists ascend the summit. Now coming to the Bollywood connection, 3000 meters above the sea level at the summit station, you find an Indian restaurant based upon Bollywood theme.
Another Bollywood attraction at Mt. Titlis that tourists don’t miss – an opportunity to get themselves clicked with a life-size cut-out of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol from’ Dil wale dulhania le jayenge’. On my recent trip I was surprised to find not just the Indians, but even Chinese tourists vying with each other to get a pic with the lead pair of DDLD. Herd mentality!
It is quite possible that on your next visit to Switzerland; you may get a photo-op with gorgeous Sridevi in a dancing pose. Don’t miss it. This is what most tourists love to do!
(Published on Momspresso on 29 June 2019)