How does Poland treat Indian tourists?

Bollywood as a tourist magnet - Will Poland become Little India?

Wild car chases, helicopters exploding in the air, a bus crashing over the railing into the Vistula. In between English-Polish language mix, tracking shots and autograph hunters. A touch of Bollywood can be felt in Warsaw: Indian producer and director Sajid Nadiadwala is shooting the action film "Kick" in the Polish capital. Action star Salman Khan, the “Stallone of Bollywood”, came to Poland for the shooting. Other cast members include Randeep Hooda and Jacqueline Fernandez, a former "Miss Sri Lanka".

This is not the first time that the Indian film industry is looking for motifs in Poland. Bollywood directors have already shot several times in Krakow in southern Poland, where another large-scale production is due to start soon. Initially, the mountains and valleys of the High Tatras were used as the setting for a screen romance because the security situation in Kashmir was too explosive for the filming.

Since then, the directors have increasingly enjoyed the exoticism of the medieval market square, the narrow cobblestone streets and the Renaissance gables of magnificent aristocratic palaces. For “Kick”, however, a modern cityscape was required with high-rise buildings and more hectic pace than in tranquil Krakow. That was the chance for Warsaw.

Not only film fans are happy about Bollywood on the Vistula. The Polish tourism industry is courting the filmmakers of the subcontinent and is betting that Indian tourists will choose Poland if Warsaw or Krakow have a “role” on the big screen and arouse interest in the audience.

Under the motto “Come and find your story”, campaign manager Emilia Kubik from the Polish tourism organization POT is promoting Poland as a filming location to the Indian film industry. It presents landscapes and historic cities and also points out the potential for savings - the production and hotel costs in Warsaw, for example, are well below the prices in London or Dublin, which Nadiadwala had also considered as locations.

To make the decision in favor of Poland easier in the future, POT and the Polish Film Commission have developed an app about possible locations and contacts to Polish cooperation partners, which is intended to target film studios and “location scouts”.

Monika Kapil-Mohta, India's ambassador to Poland, considers the tradition of the Polish film school in Lodz - of which Roman Polanski is one of the graduates - to be at least as important when it comes to working with the Indian film industry. There is no shortage of well-trained specialists. “I am deeply impressed by the quality of films made in Poland,” she says. And also the Warsaw people, who are repeatedly forced to detour when streets or bridges are closed again for action scenes, she gives a good testimonial: "Despite all the explosions around them, they are so nice and friendly."

Some of them are almost too used to sirens, flashing lights and loud pops. “The other day I saw three fire engines speeding through Marszalkowska Street and was already looking for the cameras and actors,” says POT President Rafal Szmytke. "But nothing was shot - there was a fire in a hotel."

dpa