Mauritius: Idyllic Paradise for Bollywood and Hollywood Productions

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Although still relatively unknown in international circles, the tropical paradise of Mauritius is a veritable Bollywood location, and is growing its filmic offerings in leaps and bounds.

A boat on the beach at the Maritim Hotel in Balaclava, Mauritius.

A volcanic island with palm-fringed beaches, waterfalls, forests, and turquoise lagoons, Mauritius offers a host of jungle and coastal locations for filmmakers who are willing to try something new. Thanks to its proximity to Southeast Asia, Mauritius is a popular Bollywood film destination, with some of the best known regions including the Black River Gorges National Park, Casela National Park, and the coloured earth of the Chamarel Plain and Le Pouce. Underwater photography and filming are ideal on Mauritius, particularly the more protected west coast, while Tamarin Bay has great surf breaks. For those in search of specific looks, the main towns and much of the French colonial-era architecture are quite rundown – making for some interesting backdrops – while those in search of agricultural looks will find sugarcane and tea in abundance.

Films Shot in the Country

The Indian film community has always been comfortable filming on location in Mauritius. Since 1977, hundreds of Bollywood films, commercials and TV series have been shot on the island – giving it the nickname of ‘Mini India’. Some of the films shot in Mauritius include Josh, 36 China Town, Go Goa Gone, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, and Kidnap. French production My Father the Hero (1991) featuring Gérard Depardieu was filmed here, as well as the UK’s Jane and the Lost City (1987) and China’s The Breakup Guru (2014).

In May 2017, the Mauritius Board of Investment announced that the country would host its first ever big-budget Hollywood feature, Serenity. The project is worth US$20 million, and stars Matthew McConaughey alongside Anne Hathaway and Uma Thurman. “Around eighty local crew will be involved in this production, which is expected to create further business linkages with local financial institutions and other suppliers of services,” the Board said, adding that the island is at the heart of the story, with the film being shot exclusively in Mauritius. Identical Pictures is attached as one of the local companies servicing the production. At the time of going to print, principal photography was underway. 50 film projects have injected approximately US$28 million into the Mauritian economy through the rebate scheme since its launch in 2013.

For more on Mauritius as a location, read Issue 9:

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