Blast from the past: This film started the trend of shooting abroad
Sangam was the first Bollywood film to be shot abroad Continue reading ...
Then, imagine a film where the hero and the heroine are shown to take a lengthy European honeymoon. Wouldn’t you flock to see such a film? Of course, you will.
That film was Sangam (1964), produced and directed by Raj Kapoor. It was a love triangle starring Rajendra Kumar, Vyjayanthimala and Raj Kapoor himself. It broke all kinds of box office records.
Sundar (Raj Kapoor), Gopal (Rajendra Kumar) and Radha (Vyjayantimala) have been friends since childhood. Sunder is obsessed with Radha, who prefers the much more stoic Gopal. Sundar is unaware of Gopal and Radha’s feelings towards each other. Sundar becomes an airport pilot and is missing in action. Radha and Gopal come closer. She’s impressed by an unsigned letter he writes for her.
Later, when Sundar comes back, Gopal sacrifices his love for her.
Sundar and Radha get married but having found the unsigned letter, Sundar is taken up with jealousy. Later, Gopal commits suicide because he can’t bear to see the rift between them, leading to grief all around.
While the A list cast and the superlative acting and direction were, of course, the reason for its stupendous success, one can’t deny the hand of its unique locations as well.
The film was extensively shot in Venice, Paris, and Switzerland and virtually started the trend of shooting songs abroad.
After Raj Kapoor, the other big filmmaker who took to shooting abroad was Shakti Samanta. He shot the thriller, An Evening In Paris (1967), starring Sharmila Tagore and Shammi Kapoor extensively in Paris.
The film had Sharmila essaying a double role. Eiffel tower featured prominently in the film. The film became famous for Sharmila’s water skiing scene wearing a swimsuit. He also shot the Amitabh Bachchan starrer The Great Gambler (1979) in Venice.
Pramod Chakravorty looked eastwards for his Love In Tokyo (1966), which was shot primarily in Tokyo.
Starring Asha Parekh and Joy Mukherjee, the romantic film acquainted Indians to the wonders of modern Japan. Its song, Sayonara sayonara became hugely famous.
After YRF’s Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Switzerland and Europe became hotspots once more.
Yash Chopra did more for Swiss tourism than their own marketing department. His is a much-revered name there. Foreign tourism boards started actively luring the Indian filmmakers abroad after the success of DDLJ. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), for example, felt like a two hour commercial for Spain.
Let’s hope things get to normal soon and shooting units start travelling abroad again.