SA tourism hails Chander Pahar for fostering tourist interest

The successful run of Kamaleswar Mukherjee's magnum opus "Chander Pahar" has kindled interest among tourists, especially Bengali, about South Africa as a destination. "The graphic panoramic shots of Kruger National Park, North-West and Mpumalanga in the country are just incredible," a top South African tourism board official said.

The adventure film centering around the exploits of a village lad from Bengal was based on the eponymous novel written by Bibhutibhusan Bandyopadhya who incidentally never visited the country.

South African Tourism country head Hanneli Slabber told PTI in an e-mail, "It really is unbelievable that the writer penned such a brilliant piece of work without setting foot in our country."

She hoped that with the film becoming a hit in India, specially in Bengal, the Indian tourists would consider South Africa as a destination.

She said the board would actively market the country to filmmakers by appointing guides who would apprise them of locations where they could shoot their films.

There are local film commissions in South Africa which provide help with crew, shooting permits and locations. Provincial tourism boards also provide additional support on locations and logistics.

'Chander Pahar' director Kamaleswar Mukherjee said, "We had conducted shooting and pre-production work in South Africa for 40 days and many forested parts of the land remained as virgin and wild as they were 100 years back when Bibhutibhusan wrote the novel."

The film, made with a budget of Rs 15 crore is also doing well in the US, though film critics and reviewers in that country did not like its slow pace.

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