Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Sunday, Feb 17, 2002
Variety - Cinema
Best `Bond girl' comes a calling
MUMBAI, Feb. 16
HER white bikini was auctioned for a staggering amount last year. She was voted the best `Bond Girl' by a recent survey for her role in the Bond movie `Dr. No'- her first film, shot in 1962. The all-time Bond beauty, Ms Ursula Andress, is here, to take part in a Bollywood award ceremony - to present the Swiss Filmfare award to producer and director, Mr Yash Chopra.
It's not merely for the glamour event that the Swiss government has flown the Hollywood celebrity to India. Swiss has a big stake in Bollywood: A number of Indian films are shot in Switzerland.
Song and dance scenes against alluring backgrounds of snowcapped mountains and green meadows in over 100 Indian films have been shot in Switzerland since 1994. And Switzerland continues to be a favoured location for Indian movie makers. Mr Josef Renggli, Consul General of Switzerland here says "there are more Indian films shot in Switzerland than Swiss films.''
The romantic scenes in the mid-60 film `An Evening in Paris' in which Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore meet in Paris, were, in fact, shot against the backdrop of snowy peaks of Grindelwald, in Switzerland.
The trouble in Kashmir made Bollywood to scout for locations in the Swiss mountains in the mid-80s. Several supper-hits including `Dilwale Dulhaniay Le Jayenge', and recent `Kabhi Khushi Khabhi Gham,' `Mujhse Dosti Karonge,' were shot in the country.
According to Mr Renggli, Swiss locations work out cheaper for Indian film producers. Besides the enchanting landscapes that offers a `Europe in miniature', all the infrastructure facilities required for shooting is available locally.
There are Swiss companies which have been working with Indian film makers for over two decades. They provide complete infrastructure. `Film Location Switzerland,' a Swiss government agency, specialised in location scouting helps overseas film makers.
Swiss authorities look at Indian filmdom as a goldmine. They ensure entry of Indian stars into their country as smooth as possible with visas being issued in 24-hours. They make all arrangements for planning the tour, details of availability of technical facilities etc.
Mr Renggli says the perception that Switzerland as a tourist destination is wrong. "It is possible to plan a trip at less than $70 per day''.
Announcing the award, Mr Rengli said for almost 20 years, Mr Chopra has chosen the beautiful Swiss landscape as locations for most of his films.
Ms Andress likes India. But as she had a glimpse of Mumbai, outside of Bollywood, she was sad seeing cows wandering on the crowded roads.
"In Switzerland cows pasture freely in the green...green fields,'' she said.
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