Broadcaster Ravi Sagoo embarks on his own ‘filmi’ journey reflecting the glitz and glamour of Bollywood in Scotland.

'Bonnie Bollywood: 25 Years of Indian Film-making in Scotland' on Radio 4 tells the story of why the world’s biggest film industry uses Scotland as their number one location outside of Mumbai’s Film City.

The Indian film industry has a long tradition of location shoots, the “go to” location used to be Kashmir with its stunning mountain and lake scenery.

Due to the political climate in the region, it became difficult to film in the area  and too risky for the star names to visit.

So, in 1998 Director Karan Johar brought over an A-list cast and crew to  shoot ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ bringing Scotland into focus in Bollywood for the very first time with its lush locations of  glens, castles and lochs, complimenting the film genre’s lavish romantic musical and action-based productions. 

The film went to become the highest grossing Indian film of 1998 thus cementing Bollywood’s love affair with Scotland.

Indian audiences loved the Scottish location shoots filmed at Tantallon Castle in North Berwick, Black Rock Cottage in  Glencoe, Eilean Donan Castle in Kyle of Lochalsh and Loch Lomond and have since regularly visited the locations their  iconic movie stars have sung and danced at in item numbers on screen. 

Ravi speaks with Bollywood experts including broadcaster Raj Dhanda and Glasgow born Bollywood actor Feryna  Wazhier who both give us a further insight into Scotland’s contribution as a prime filming backdrop used by Indian filmmakers alongside Scotland’s cultural history.

With now over 100 Indian films shot in Scotland across varying Indian regional languages including Hindi, Punjabi and  Tamil, Ravi also speaks with UK based Bollywood Line producers Parag Sankhe, Deeksha Bhatia (Big Elephant  Productions) and Adil Khan (Scotwood Productions) who tell him about the growth of providing location services which is on a massive upward trajectory as 

Adil said: ‘Scotland is now the hottest location for Bollywood directors and production houses due to the lush scenery, wintry weather, natural sunlight and clear skies – unlike Mumbai there is  no smog to contend with and many films look for snow and ice for which Scotland can provide both".

Ravi, who missed out on a starring role (albeit as an extra!) to his siblings in ‘Kuch Kuch Hota  Hai’, embarks on finally making his own Bollywood dream come true by trying to secure a walk on part in a  Bollywood film.

Ravi ends up on the set of ‘Bhai Bhai’ (Brother Brother) which is shooting in Scotland and speaks to its two main lead actors Bollywood stars Manish Paul and Kunaal Roy Kapur. 

'Bonnie Bollywood: 25 Years of Indian Film-making in Scotland' broadcasts on Radio 4 on Sunday June 2 at 7.15pm and is also available on iPlayer here.