The award was recently given to eminent filmmaker Imtiaz Ali after he shot the 2017 movie, Jab Harry Met Sejal, in the Portuguese cities of Cintra, Lisbon and Cascais, which promoted Portugal as a major destination overseas. By Amitha Ameen

Indian filmmaker Imtiaz Ali was conferred the ‘Touristic Merit Medal’ by the Portuguese government earlier this month.

Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali receiving the Touristic Award for Merit from Minister of Economy Pedro Siza Vieria and Secretary of        State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho.
A still from the film – Jab Harry Met Sejal

The prestigious award was presented to the filmmaker by the Minister of Economy, Pedro Siza Vieria and Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho. This Portuguese award is offered to those who stand out in some way related to the promotion of Portugal Tourism, nationally and internationally. Well done, Sir!

Ali’s 2017 inspired several other directors to opt for Portugal as a desired international location for shooting. The movie’s main characters portrayed by Bollywood stars – Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma further promoted the country as a favoured destination for travellers.

On Portugal, this is what the filmmaker had to say:

“Portugal is another one of those places where, when you come, you feel like this has to be in a movie. I have come here with my friends for a holiday, many many years back. This place is called Pineado. It is in an area called Cintra. And, Lisbon is down the road somewhere that side. And, throughout the holiday I was just thinking about what I can do when I come here to shoot, and now there is a chance for me to come here and shoot. And, you feel so helpless when you are in a place like this. You feel like, how am I going to put all of this in the movie, and you cant! So, it’s a very painful process of eliminating things and trying to put only very little, which can be digested by the film.”

Related: These 5 Places In Portugal Will Ensure You Have The Most Magical Honeymoon!