While Indian filmmakers go in search of foreign locales, filmmakers from international shores have found beauty in the crowds, dusty roads, the palaces and beaches of India.
At least 90 foreign film productions have been cleared for shooting at different locations on India over the last three years.
Destinations like Goa, Jaipur, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Thane and Panchmarhi (MP) are among the popular locations of foreign filmmakers, according sources from the ministry of information and broadcasting.
Figures from the ministry show that filmmakers from Britain top the list of those preferring India as a location, as they accounted for 33 of the 90 films in the last three years. The US followed next with 17 films.
Filmmakers from France, Germany, Canada, Netherlands, Japan, Russia, Georgia, Italy, Israel, Bangladesh and Pakistan have also flocked to India in the last few years to shoot their films.
In 2006, the ministry granted permission to 22 foreign film productions, 27 each in 2007 and 2008, and has already given its nod for 17 others for 2009, records show.
But a country that is known for red tape, how have the foreign filmmakers managed to get the permission? Officials say a filmmaker usually get permission from the ministry in less than three weeks, once he or she submits details of the locations and the film script.
Permission is just a formality, but is necessary so that the ministry can prevent objectionable films that may annoy the local population, the officials added.
Amoong the recent productions were Indian Summer by UK's Mashorba Films and Eat Pray Love by UK's Waveland Pictures featuring actress Julia Roberts.
The Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire was granted permission in 2007, while the celebrated movie A Mighty Heart featuring Angelina Jolie, which featured at the Cannes Film Festival, was approved for shooting near Pune in 2006.A ministry statement says the Indian economy has also earned many spin-off benefits from foreign films' shoots in India, as they provide an employment opportunity to locals, give a fillip to hotel industry as also contribute export earnings of goods and service remittances.