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Bollywood goes to France!

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Maison de la France and Film France organizes 'Sangam Tour' for the Indian film fraternity

What do these Hollywood blockbusters - DA VINCI CODE, PINK PANTHER, MUNICH and RUSH HOUR 3 have in common? Not only do they owe their success to excellent film-making, but also attribute its success to the visually captivating and one of the most splendid landscapes and architectural masterpieces of France!

Closer home, Raj Kapoor's 1964 blockbuster hit SANGAM was the first Indian movie shot in France, and after the success of DON and JHOOM BARABAR JHOOM more Indian producers are now viewing France as the next hot Film shoot destination.

Last week a delegation of Indian producers visited the regions of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur and Rhones-Alpes, with the purpose of using France as a location for their future shoots. Put together for the giants of the Indian film fraternity by Maison de la France India and Film France, this was the very first time that the national agencies for promotion of tourism and film came together to put up such a project.

This trip, aptly nicknamed 'Sangam Tour' - a tribute to the 1964 masterpiece created by Raj Kapoor, the very first Indian film shot in France - has enabled these great directors of Indian cinema to discover PACA and Rhones-Alpes. After being astonished with the number of spectacular landscapes of Nice, they then discovered the regions of Provence, le Lubéron, Lyon and massif of Mont Blanc.' I didn't expect such diversity in landscapes: The different number of backdrops which we can use in our films has surpassed all our expectations. All of us are very tempted', confides Suresh Laxmanan, producer of the 2007 super hit movie BILLA.

'Helping them discover the regions of Cote d'Azur and the Alpine mountains has allowed us to broaden the Indian producer's perception of France. In this manner we will be able to increase the number of Indian film shootings in France which, in these last few years, were concentrated only on Paris and Corsica', explains Franck Priot, Deputy Director of Film France.

While Niranjan Patwardhan has already made plans to return to France in August to shoot his next flick -FASHION with leading Bollywood superstar Priyanka Chopra, Mr. Ravi Gupta, C.E.O of Mukta Arts in Mumbai appreciates the quality of light in the south of France, and how fast it is to travel from the Mediterranean to the Alps. 'I am convinced that filming in France is economically reasonable when you consider all that you will be capturing on camera; A rich heritage of natural and historical landscapes', says Ravi Gupta.

Maison de la France, the French tourist office in India aims at promoting France as a tourist destination whereas Film France, a part of the Ministry of culture strives to popularise France as a filming destination. The nuptial of cinema and tourism is the very first one of its kind. 'Promoting France to the Indian producers is the current important project we are working on and which is fundamental for our strategy in this market. In India, Cinema and Tourism are intimately linked to each other, every Indian production that is accomplished in France will increase the tourist inflow in the country', explains Karim Mekachera, Director of Maison de la France India.

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