Scotland to be promoted as a film location to Bollywood

London, Mar 27: It has emerged that Scotland has plans afoot to promote itself to Indian film production companies as a good filming location.

A report revealed that in a bid to secure a slice of the world's fastest growing economy, the Scottish Government has developed a new "India Plan" that could see a rise in the number of Bollywood films shot in Scotland.

In the past, Scotland had been a popular location for Indian film production companies, which used the Highlands as a substitute for Kashmir, as well as filming in Edinburgh.

But now many favour locations in eastern Europe and Switzerland, which are cheaper.

Developing direct air links to India is another agenda in the strategy document, which is designed to boost links between the two countries in education and science, tourism, trade, and investment and culture.

"Work with representatives of the Scottish film industry to develop links with the Indian film industry to demonstrate Scotland's potential for film production," the Scotsman quoted a section in the document as reading.

Since 1997, Scottish Screen has had 155 inquiries for film, TV and adverts from Indian production companies, which saw 19 Bollywood feature films shot in Scotland, with an estimated spend of 775,000 pounds.

The most recent was 'The Purple Lake', which was filmed last year at Urquhart Castle and in Inverness. At the moment staff planning to shoot a feature film and TV commercial are scouting in Scotland this weekend.

"We have always had good interest from India to shoot in Scotland, whether it's idyllic hillside villages, scenic landscapes, or mansions and palaces," a spokeswoman for Scottish Screen said.

"We look forward to welcoming and helping many more Indian film-makers find the right location in Scotland," she stated.

Plans are also afoot to maximise the opportunities arising from the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Glasgow will host the 2014 event.

To celebrate the two countries' cultural ties, there will be a focus on the friendship between Scots philanthropist Sir Patrick Geddes and the Nobel laureate, poet Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, on the 150th anniversary of the Bengali poet's birth in 2011.

India has the world's twelfth largest economy and has invested around 700 million pounds in Scotland in the last five years.

Students from India form the second largest group of overseas students in Scotland's universities and about 3,000 graduates remained in the country after completing their courses.

Fiona Hyslop, Scotland's external affairs minister, said the project aimed to build "sustainable economic growth".

"The links between India and Scotland put us in a strong position to benefit from doing business with one of the world's fastest expanding economies," she said.

The Indian Consul General in Scotland, Anil Kumar Anand, added: "It is excellent that the plan is being launched this year when we look forward to Delhi hosting the Commonwealth Games."

Copyright Asian News International/