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Home » Bollywood » Latest News

Wales to woo Bollywood with ‘magical’ landscape

In Bollywood, more prone to the seductive charms of the Swiss Alps, Wales may not strike as a natural film location, but the Welsh government believes that its ‘magical’ landscape dotted with mountains, beaches and some of the ‘grandest’ castles in Europe makes it just the right setting for Bollywood-style song-and-dance sequences though that final happy-ending shot may have to be faked in studio because the country does not always have great sunsets.

So, next week, the Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones will be in Mumbai with a team of officials and a business delegation to woo Bollywood filmmakers. The Mumbai leg is part of a five-day visit to India (April 10-14) to promote trade, academic and cultural relations.

“We are going to say to our friends in Mumbai: come to Wales and you will not be disappointed. We have a lovely countryside, great mountains and beaches and more castles per square mile than anywhere else in Europe. We also have state-of-the-art post-production facilities. At least five Bollywood films have already been shot in Wales and we want to build on that relationship,’’ he told The Hindu.

The visit is aimed at tapping into the Indian market for Welsh goods and services. A similar initiative by the previous government apparently did not yield much. Few in the current Labour-led administration appear to know if anything came out of it.

Mr. Jones said his government attached great importance to developing strong relations with India.

“Here in Wales we have a thriving Indian community and we are very proud of its contribution. There are a number of major Indian companies in Wales - Tata Steel, Wockhardt, Bilcare and Tata Consultancy Services. Their contribution to the local economy is huge and they have done a lot to generate employment, particularly the Tatas. We have 3,000 India students in our universities and one of the aims of my visit is to persuade more Indian students to come here,’’ he said voicing his concern over the Conservative-led Central government’s restrictive policy on student visas.

“I am not happy about it and I have already taken it up with Westminster. The new rules on student visas will discourage foreign students from coming here,’’ he added.

Highlighting Wales’ educational links with India, Mr. Jones said his government had just announced a further three years funding of £300,000 for the UK-India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI).

Mr. Jones, who will have meetings with Ministers, key government officials and business leaders in New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai, said Wales had many ‘niche goods and services’ to offer to India.

“Our message to India is that Wales is open for business, and it is a good place to visit, to study and work,’’ he said flagging up tourism, trade and investment as the focus of his visit.

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