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The vibrant culture and variety of landscapes that Gujarat offers has made it a popular backdrop and shooting destination for Bollywood.
To tell a story of terrorism, its nexus and how it affects the innocent, director Nikhil Advani was looking at a variety of locations for his film D-Day. "A mix of rural and urban was a must. Also, since it is an action thriller, we wanted to explore multiple landscapes, especially rough and gritty terrains, such as the desert," explains Monisha Advani, producer of the film. The team realised that Gujarat offers a mix of all these and decided to shoot a large part of the film in the Kutch area. "To shoot the climax, we got a location that can match up to international standards — a vast piece of sandy land by the sea that has no development in sight," she adds.
The advantage of being able to offer varying locations — from forts and palaces to highways and the city, as well as deserts and the sea — has made Gujarat the latest popular shooting destination. While some films have been set there, such as Abhishek Kapoor's Kai Po Che!, others are merely being filmed in the state. Set in Haryana, Vishal Bhardwaj's Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola has been filmed in Rajkot; Tigmanshu Dhulia shot both Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster and its sequel at Devgadh Baria Palace near Vadodara; US-based filmmaker Prashant Bhargava shot Patang in Ahmedabad; and Indra Kumar's Grand Masti recently completed a 21-day schedule at the Laxmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara. Portions of Nikhil Dwivedi's Captain and Neil Nitin Mukesh's Shortcut Romeo have also been shot there.
Grand Masti's producer Ashok Thakeria explains that the variety Gujarat offers was little known until it began to promote tourism. "The heritage structures have been maintained very well, which makes it an attraction for filmmakers looking to explore unseen locations," he explains. The government has also cut down on red tape for getting the requisite permissions. He adds that Gujarat's proximity to Mumbai helps keep the budget in control.