Bollywood in Andalusia

During the last few months it is very likely that a friend of yours has shown you two videos on Youtube: the one of the song “Señorita” and the one of an Indian movie called “Pathaan”. Both have several things in common. But the one that most interests us lovers of screen tourism is that both clips are filmed in Andalusia. 

If you want to know where and why, read on.


“You only live once”: the movie of the song “Señorita” 

It was 2011 when an Indian production company landed in Spain to shoot a road movie about the bachelor party of a boy from Bombay who came to our country with his friends to live adventures. “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” (“You Only Live Once”) became a smash hit in India, achieving record takings and putting Spain on the tourist radar of the large Indian population. 

Riding in a wonderful convertible and ready to enjoy the Spanish “exoticism”, our protagonists begin their journey in Catalonia, where they visit Barcelona and go scuba diving on the Costa Brava, continue in Valencia, in the middle of the “tomatina” of Buñol, and continue in Andalusia. 

Supposedly it is then when they arrive in Seville, where they want to practice skydiving. And we say supposedly because, in reality, the action was filmed in the town of Alájar, a small village in the province of Huelva that meets all the expectations of foreign tourists arriving in Andalusia: whitewashed houses and intricate streets full of beautiful flamenco dancers. 

Alájar, the perfect Andalusian village/ Andalucía Film Commission

The film’s most memorable musical number, the famous “Señorita”, was filmed there. In this lively song, the two cultures merge in a peculiar and fun combination that has achieved millions of views to date.

In addition to the beautiful square of Alájar, decorated for the occasion with a flamenco tablao, light bulbs as if to illuminate the April Fair and the whole town out on the street as extras, the song is a beautiful hymn about the language of love that breaks all barriers, as a language that needs no translation (basically Indian and a little bit of Spanish). The three actors starring in the film were accompanied by the voice of the flamenco singer María del Mar Fernández and a good flamenco group as background to one of those fantastic choreographies that are the hallmark of cinema “made in Bollywood”.

The main square of Alájar during the filming of “Solo se vive una vez”/ Andalucía Film Commission

Ronda’s Plaza de España also appears in the film, in a scene where the protagonists ride in a convertible. Their journey actually takes them through three villages, Ronda, Grazalema and Setenil de las Bodegas, although in the film they are presented as one village.

One of the many anecdotes of the shoot took place in Setenil, proving that Indian directors are very keen on improvisation. The film’s director, Zoya Akhtar, discovered, by chance, a picturesque bar. She liked it so much that, although it was not planned, she decided to shoot a scene of confidences between the three protagonists the next day. 

You can discover more anecdotes and details of filming in these lands in Andalucía film destination.

Related article

“Pathaan”: the video with 900 million views 

From 2022 is the video for the movie “Pathaan”, an action movie in the best “Mission: Impossible” style starring the Indian Tom Cruise, the superstar Shah Rukh Khan, also known as “the king of Bollywood”. A priori, a production of this genre has no place for the musical, but, as it would not be Bollywood without spectacular dance numbers, the film has several shot in Spain (see more in “Bollywood in Spain”).

Specifically, the one shot in Cadiz, “Jhoome Jo Pathaan Song” is a love song (yes, action heroes also have their little heart) filmed in some of the most iconic places of the Andalusian capital. From the wonderful Malecon at sunset to its streets and squares full of beautiful dancers, the light and magic of Andalusia must have dazzled the Indians, because the video has a whopping 900M views. A first class advertising spot for any screen destination. An added benefit to the direct 700,000 euros that the filming left in the city.

Scene from the song Jhoome Jo Pathaan shot in Cádiz/ Andalucía Film Commission

Bollywood also passed through Malaga and Almeria

Also in 2022 another Indian production passed through Andalusia. In this case “Dhamaka”, which chose the bullring of Malaga to shoot the scene (musical, of course) of the song “Jinthaak”. Although far from the millions of “Pathaan”, the video has been viewed 24 million times, confirming that the “typical Spanish” works for the Indian market. 

Malaga had already hosted the shooting of an Indian production in 2015. On that occasion, “Nannaku Prematho”, an action and revenge film in the purest Liam Neeson style. This production also shot a shocking scene -musical, of course- in the Tabernas desert.

The Tabernas desert also enchanted Bollywood producers/ Agatha Selgas

As in the rest of Spain, the work of the Andalusia Film Commission in attracting filming has been fundamental for Indian production companies to choose locations in our country for their films. 

For all these reasons, we are sure that our Bollywood screen route in Andalusia will expand very soon with new destinations. In the meantime, be sure to do a little dance in one of the beautiful locations where it has already been filmed, and live what you see!

By María Parcero

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