New Delhi: From the famous Sydney Opera House in Australia to beautiful exotic locales in Switzerland and Macau, small screen fiction as well as reality shows are being increasingly shot in foreign locations, much to the delight of viewers.
The newly married onscreen couple Ram and Priya go to Sydney for their honeymoon in ‘Bade Achhe Lagte Hain’, the protagonist in ‘Hitler Didi’ travels to Macau in search of her sister and the new reality show ‘Survivor India’ has been shot on an island in the Philippines.
Niret Alva, co-founder of production house Miditech, told reporters that foreign locales gives shows "a larger than life feel".
"They certainly add to exotic appeal and an unusual viewing palette. They also have an aspirational value, given the large numbers of Indians who are increasingly looking to travel abroad," he added.
Sony`s popular TV show ‘Bade Achhe Lagte Hain’ saw Sakshi Tanwar and Ram Kapoor extensively shoot for their honeymoon sequence in Australia. They were seen visiting the famous Sydney Cricket Ground, Opera House, the rock formation popularly known as Three Sisters among others.
"Also, it gives the viewer a chance to sample a brand new location through the eyes of their characters. For example, a honeymoon trip or a visit to an international cricket stadium (in Sydney). In reality shows, sometimes a foreign location is just the best place to execute a tough project," said Alva.
One can also lure new viewership by shooting abroad, feels Virendra Shahane, fiction of head of Sony TV.
"Shooting in foreign locations provides the audience an entirely different experience. At times newer locations and settings attract more audiences, moreover since it was a honeymoon sequence the show had to be shot differently. Such collaborations help in both ways," said Shahane.
Sukesh Motwane, head - fiction programming Zee TV, admits that shooting in foreign locations is appreciated if it fits the story.
"The tie-ups with foreign locations will only work when it suits the content or the story of the show. It is important to have a credible story as it automatically arouses curiosity in people. There`s no use of putting in so much effort if the sequence doesn`t fit in the story," Motwane said.
He refused to cost of production while travelling abroad, but said they get help from tourism officials abroad.
"Of course, the cost of production increases as we had to fly down the actors to Macau and other logistical issues are involved. The tourism officials indeed offered us support in accommodation and other things."
Star Plus` popular show ‘Saath Nibhana Sathiya’ had a weeklong shooting schedule in the beautiful locales of Switzerland like Lake Geneva Region, Ticino and Lucerne.
Some of the shows that have previously been shot abroad are ‘Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijio’ (Nepal), ‘Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chand’ (London), ‘Kayamath’ (Turkey) and ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ (Australia).
Reality shows like ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi’, ‘Roadies’ and most recently ‘Survivor India’ have tapped foreign locations like South Africa, Malaysia and the Philippines respectively.
Alva, who is involved in the production of ‘Survivor India’, said the shooting cost goes up to 15 to 25 percent while travelling abroad.
"There are air travel costs. Stay can be expensive in comparison for a long schedule and there are the vagaries of foreign exchange. It`s difficult to pin point a precise figure, but typically there is a 15 to 25 percent cost escalation," he added.
"The Philippines is very welcoming. The governor of the province where `Survivor India` has been shot was personally involved in smoothing out issues. There was support for the project from all levels of the Philippines government, who also sensed a good opportunity to promote their country to a large Indian audience.
"The Philippines is an incredible tourism destination that unfortunately isn`t as well known to Indian tourists as other countries in the region like Thailand and Malaysia," he added.