20 years of cult Bollywood film shot in Scotland

Fans of the iconic Bollywood film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai will get the chance to follow in the ‘dance steps’ of their on-screen heroes in a new guide.

Produced by VisitScotland, it comes as new figures reveal the total amount of spend by visitors from India has risen by 60% in the past 10 years – to £17.6 million.

The downloadable Kuch Kuch Hota Hai trip planner and map, created by the national tourism organisation, features Scottish locations in Ayrshire, East Lothian, Highlands and Stirlingshire all used in the 1998 box-office hit.

Anju Ranjan, Consul General of India in Edinburgh, visited Tantallon Castle near North Berwick, which appears in the movie, to celebrate the launch of the guide.

Crossraguel Abbey, Bass Rock, Eilean Donan Castle, Glen Coe, Loch Tulla and Inchmahome Priory all star in the iconic film and take centre stage during the performance of its title song.

Earlier this year, VisitScotland embarked on its first ever social media campaign in India, targeting 25-55 year olds in key cities including Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

The online campaign reached more than 10 million people and saw more than 15,000 visits to a special Kuch Kuch Hota Hai page hosted on visitscotland.com.

India’s luxury travellers and the fast-growing middle-class traveller market have a propensity to travel outside of the main visitor season.

According to IPS (International Passenger Survey) figures, the average total spend by visitors from India rose from £10.8 million in 2007 to £17.6 million in 2017. Visits also increased from 16,700 to 43,200 although the number of nights spent in Scotland fell slightly, from 394,200 to 380,600.

Bollywood is the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai, India and one of the biggest film industries of the world. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai tells the story of two love triangles set several years apart and was the highest grossing Indian film of 1998 and the first Bollywood film to enter the UK cinema top 10.

Twenty years on it is still a firm favourite and, along with numerous other Bollywood movies subsequently shot in Scotland, continues to drive visitors here.

Jenni Steele, film and creative industries manager at VisitScotland, said: ‘Bollywood has an enduring love affair with Scotland’s cities, castles, lochs and glens with more than 20 filmmakers using our wonderful landscapes as a backdrop since 1998.

‘The number of Indian visitors to Scotland is continuing to grow and the 20th anniversary of the popular Bollywood classic Kuch Kuch Hota Hai presents a great opportunity for the Scottish tourism industry to engage with this key market.’

Stephen Duncan, director of commercial and tourism for Historic Environment Scotland, said: ‘It’s great that films such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai showcase Scotland’s heritage to India and drive tourism to historic sites such as Tantallon Castle. In recent years, we’ve seen a surge in the number of movie fans visiting Historic Scotland properties after they were featured in hit films.

‘Visiting these Scottish locations is the perfect way to find out about the heritage of the sites after watching them on the big screen.’

Anju Ranjan, Consul General of India, said: ‘Bollywood is the lifeblood of every Indian and entertains 1.3 billion Indians from birth to death, and produces more than 1000 movies – three times more movies than Hollywood – every year. It showcases evolving Indian social values, emotions, drama and message for life.

‘I’m delighted that VisitScotland is celebrating 20 years of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and to be a part of these celebrations, which adds a new chapter in India and Scotland’s cultural relationship and tourism.’

To download the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai trip planner and map, go to www.visitscotland.com/film.