Remember last summer when the Bollywood action epic Dhoom 3 was shooting all over Chicago and pumping a much needed cash infusion into the local film production scene? Well it turns out that Chicago has nothing on Switzerland, according to this article on the National Geographic travel website, National Geographic Traveler; which was forwarded to me by Chicago Tour-Guide Professionals Association (CTPA) President, tour guide, writer and all around Warrior Goddess, Donna Primas.

According to the article by columnist Andrew Evans in his Digital Nomad series, 3 or 4 Bollywood films are shot in Switzerland every month (Dhoom 3 shot there as well); mostly because of the lovely mountain vistas (which make fabulous backgrounds for large musical production numbers, a staple of Indian films). The mountains of Kashmir originally used to suffice, but strife and tension in the region in recent years has made that a dicey proposition, so the filming of the dance scenes has steadily shifted to Switzerland. The fact that the Swiss are not so intrusive when it comes to permits and oversight has also helped fuel the transition. A major Indian location manager is quoted as saying “Switzerland is the best—you don’t have to ask so much permission. You just get one permit and it covers everything. They are very supportive here—you just land and shoot.”

Since they shoot movies in several different languages, Indian filmmakers can reuse locations. Rengarajan Jaiprakash (the location scout quoted by Evans) says, “This movie’s in Telugu, so I won’t use it again for that, but we might come back for a Hindi or Tamil shoot.”

The slew of Bollywood films shooting in Switzerland has also fueled an Indian tourism boom in the alpine nation. So if you are ever in Switzerland and are wondering why there are so many fine Indian restaurants, now you know.

Last summer, I wondered if Dhoom 3 would perhaps result in an Indian tourism boom for Chicago, but Indians and other south Asians make up such a large portion of our tourists already that I’m not sure we would be able to tell. But later this summer if you see a group of Indian tourists excitedly pointing at the downtown Chicago River, they probably aren’t recounting the Eastland Disaster.