Saif Akhtar
Director of Behind-the-Scenes Videos of Fan, Tiger Zinda Hai, Pathaan

For the film Bharat, we chose Malta over Spain and Greece because Malta offered more rebates. Sometimes there are other concerns, like the demands of the story. For Fan, London had to be included because the story demanded that. Croatia was chosen because, after London, it needed to be a European location, and it was cheaper to shoot those action sequences in Croatia. Location use depends on star presence; bike chases, etc., with big stars are not possible in India, so for those, we tend to go to locations abroad.

In recent years, dance sequences have changed, and the scale is different now that songs no longer bring in money. The song is no longer commerce-driven. The rebates can often cover 40 or 45% of the budget, which would include hotels, airlines, the hiring of local crew, and transport. But the host countries often negotiate for a promotional video. In the case of Ek Tha Tiger, they chose Austria because the wolf sequence needed a snowbound location and there was a well-known wolf trainer in Austria. Second, Austria gave a rebate but demanded a promotional video. This video is to help them attract more film productions to Austria. Dill Diyan Gallan was shot in Austria. The Swag song was shot in Greece, and dancers were sent from Paris. The heads of various production departments are usually from India, but they get their assistants from the countries where they are shooting, so this builds on a network of skills.

Shooting in Eastern Europe has an advantage since the costs go down and we also get technicians from the region. When compared to places like Switzerland, there is novelty involved in the excavation of new locations as opposed to overexposed parts of the world. Eastern Europe is virgin territory, cheaper, and there is magic.

In some of the action sequences of War, image plates were used, and then Hrithik Roshan was shot against a blue screen. These two layers were combined through CGI to create some of the action because Hrithik did not want to travel too much. In Fan, on the other hand, Shahrukh Khan shot the sequences in Croatia because the action demanded a crowded place.

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