The Indian film industry as a driver of new socio­economic connections between India and Europe

international research project
Basic Info


The Indian film industry produces between 1,500 to 2,000 films annually. While Indian cinema has had a presence in certain parts of the world linked to its diaspora, in the recent past, it has crossed over to non­South Asian audiences. This expansion has also led to a widespread incorporation of new locations in the production process. Since the advent of colour in the 1960s, films like An Evening in Paris (1967), Silsila (1981), Chandni (1989), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Fanaa (2006), Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) and Queen (2014), have extensively mobilized picturesque European locations. Locating films in a foreign setting is meant to offer an attraction to viewers and is in part an attempt to appeal to diasporic audiences closely connected to a sense of ‘India’.

The FilmInd project attempts to understand the mobilization of European locations in Indian cinema, linking these practices to the contexts of cultural and creative industries, tourism, diplomacy, and new economic opportunities for investment and employment. European governments, tourism ministries and film commissions, have recently worked towards the promotion of their respective countries as film-shooting destinations. In doing this, they usually emphasize the offer of professional services, good value for money based on local services and incentives in the form of cash rebates. This charged context of increasing competition in attracting film­makers to new locations and the international circulation of Indian cinema, has created new types of cultural connections and possible economic cooperation between India and European countries. The potential for European-Indian cooperation is significant and can be mutually beneficial.

Given that this project is interested in how locations shape and are shaped by film production and circulation, the methodology encompasses:
• To map the scale and analyse the specific locations across Europe where Indian cinemas are being shot (European-wide and country-specific analyses);
• To identify the specific nature of the infrastructure that allows for easy mobility of film crews to these European locations;
• To investigate the construction of place through the use of European locations in Indian cinema;
• To analyse the socio-economic impact of the Indian film industry in Europe and in India;
• To promote and support local and regional development in Europe and India through the Indian film industries.


Project steps

WP1: Project management and communication


WP2: Mapping of screen locations

Research questions: How are screen locations selected by the Indian film industry from across European territory? What is the relationship between spaces and places in the movies (geographical and cultural representations of cities, regions, countries)? How is a country's imagination constructed via the locations mobilized in the cinema?


WP3: The infrastructure of film production

Research questions: What are the expectations of Indian producers towards European partners? How does Europe across different scales (cities/regions/states) attract the Indian film industry? How do we understand the mechanisms of infrastructure that make the collaboration possible? What kind of collaborations have evolved in the last few decades?


WP4: Audience research

Research questions: How do audiences make the connections between spaces and places (India/different European countries/cities) featured in the movies? How do European audiences perceive the use of certain locations in these films?


WP5: The impact of Indian film industries on place

Research questions: What is the relationship between the Indian and European film industries in relation to their development trajectories in European locations? What are the local socio­economic spill-over effects? What is the impact of co­production on Indian and European cinematography? Does it have any deeper cultural influence? Does it influence the culture of film production? What kind of data about the Indian film industries is needed by interested stakeholders to promote and support local and regional development in Europe and India?

local and regional development
geographical and cultural imagination of landscapes
cultural and creative industries
screen locations
film production