THERE WERE more than a few eyebrows raised when Bollywood came to Bradford.
But it seems the legacy of Yorkshire’s role hosting the International Indian Film Academy Awards – the industry’s ‘Oscars’ – back in 2007 is still being felt across the region.
The relationship forged between these unlikely cultural bedfellows has led to a rise in demand from directors and producers looking to the vast green expanses of the Dales, striking stately homes and industrial cityscapes to film big-budget movies.
And Derbyshire’s Chatsworth estate has become the latest location to be projected on to thousands of cinema screens, a reignited passion for the region is predicted to provide a welcome boost to the local economy and inspire the 23 million Indians who watch a film every day to plan a visit.
“Yorkshire has hosted a number of Bollywood productions in recent years, which Creative England supported on with location and crewing, and we know there are more in the pipeline. We’ve certainly seen an increase in demand,” said Chris Hordley, production liaison manager for Yorkshire at Creative England.
“Yorkshire has some amazing filming locations and a very versatile landscape, it has everything from industrial cities, and historic architecture to rolling countryside and beautiful coastlines. So artistically Yorkshire has great appeal to productions.
“It also has excellent facilities and superb crew that makes it the perfect production base for international productions.”
Chatsworth and surrounding areas reaped the benefits when some of Bollywood’s biggest stars and film descended on the house and grounds to film the £7.5m-budget comedy Humshakals, released this summer.
Renowned director Sajid Khan spent weeks visiting a variety of locations across the UK in search of somewhere the fictional millionaire family at the heart of the film could call home, but was blown away when he saw Chatsworth.
Producer Cyrus Patel, who manages UK operations for Bollywood, said: “As soon as the director saw it he fell in love with it. It was the grand scale of everything which he was impressed by.
“The cast and crew were also very impressed. These are huge stars, and more Bollywood fans are coming over to see the places these films are set.”
Stephanie Cliffe, marketing manager at Chatsworth, said: “Bringing the beautiful house and garden to huge new audience who may not have been aware of it before.”
With news Humshakals has already been seen by millions of cinema-goers, and the success of the Grand Départ expected to increase demand further, the region’s Bollywood boom looks set to continue.
It is good news for local business, as Creative England estimates that filming can bring up to £32,000 a day into economies, creating jobs for crew members and local business such as vehicle and equipment hire companies, hotels and restaurants.
Mr Patel said: “Screen Yorkshire has a very good operation in the area and it has so much to offer. Producers will keep coming back.”