Moving away from the confines of sets in Mumbai, makers of TV shows are opting to go to foreign locations like Singapore, Cape Town (South Africa) and Dubai (UAE). The global trail is a ploy to break the monotony and to present a visual delight to the audience, say experts.
Dubai’s skyline was used to introduce the show "Saraswatichandra"; "Sasural Simar Ka" went to Hong Kong; The "Diya Aur Baati Hum" team took off to Singapore; "Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai" headed to Cape Town and the cast of "Tu Mera Hero" is likely to go all the way to New Jersey, US.
"Television serials go for foreign locations to infuse new energy. It is also to give viewers a new visual delight," Gaurav Seth, senior vice president and head, Marketing, Sony Entertainment Television, told IANS.
Echoing the same, Namit Sharma, programming head of Zee TV, said: "The audience enjoys the change in backdrop as they get a break from the mundane and boring set."
The foreign location comes into the picture with an important development in the storyline — be it a pilot episode, change in plot or after the TV’s favourite formula of the ‘leap’.
It’s not only viewers who are presented with a whiff of change; shooting abroad gives an opportunity to actors also to get acquainted with the show’s success outside India.
"When you spend 12 hours on a set, you don’t realise the impact of your show. But when we go to outdoor locations, that’s when it hits us…with people coming to see shoots and waiting for hours to get a picture clicked," Deepika Singh, who plays Sandhya in "Diya Aur Baati Hum", told IANS.
Non-fiction shows are also jetting off abroad – for instance "MasterChef India 4" went to Dubai for its culinary flavours, and makers of "Khatron Ke Khiladi" picked South Africa’s Cape Town as its base for all the stunts.
Manisha Sharma, programming head of Colors channel, notes that picking the right destination for fiction or reality shows differ on the "basis of its content and format".
"For example, when ‘Comedy Nights With Kapil’ shot for a special weekend bonanza in Dubai, it was owing to the show’s huge fan following in the region.
"However, when a show like ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi: Darr Ka Blockbuster Returns’ is filmed in Cape Town, it is because South Africa presents us with the best of all worlds including scenic locales, a world-class crew to design and execute exceptional stunts, and the ability to film seamlessly," she said.
What is the criteria of choosing a destination?
"The location depends upon the theme of the show. Nations which have a large number of Indian population also attract more producers," Seth said.
Manisha added: "There are multiple factors to be considered before we finalise the foreign location. One of the primary aspects is that the location needs to act as not only a backdrop but an essential tool that takes the content being filmed there to another level."
The budget is also a major consideration.
"The budget of the show is a critical factor in determining the destination. Once the destination is finalised, we work closely with the production team as well as our partners to ensure that the overall budget is managed effectively," Manisha said.