Monday, November 29, 1999

Shot to fame

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With a lot of Bollywood projects making Pune their shooting location, the city is being metamorphosed into a production hub for movie makersThe director shouts action as the clap goes on and the camera starts rolling. Crew members, side actors, make up artists, production guys - the scene at a film production site is not any less entertaining than the movie itself. The aura of the stars, the grumble of the director, the frustration of the clap guy and the dexterity of the chai-wala, all are brought into the radar as the words, ' Lights ! Camera , Action! are spelled out. Filming a movie, perhaps is not only a challenge but a huge task in itself that requires lot of collaborative effort. Increasingly then, finding a perfect film site is a very important decision that a film maker has to take. So while Pune has long been celebrated as hub for art, culture and education, it's fast becoming a second- in -tow to our very own Amchi Mumbai, for a lot of Bollywood projects, both small and big, all thanks to it's lovely locales and historic ascent.With the recent shooting of Kurbaan at the Agricultural College, to the song filmed at 11 East Street Cafe in the movie Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani, there are reasons aplenty as to why this city is attracting Bollywood directors to its quarters. "Pune was always an attractive destination for a lot of Marathi movies. But off late, Hindi film makers have also started picking it up as a good option," says Manoj Tiwari, who has been into production of movies for five years now. "Pune is also inexpensive as compared to Mumbai when it comes to renting a place or a bungalow, to add to it, getting permissions from authorities is also easy," adds Tiwari.It's indeed a distinct break for directors who are looking for newer sites for their movies. So no wonder pristine locations like the Shaniwarwada fort, old Pune enclaves and plenty of hills and lakes catch the eye of the camera too soon. In the past the city has been a witness to movies like MunnaBhai MBBS, Dhol, Kaminey, Dulha Mil Gaya, Ek Aur Ek Gyara to name a few. Perhaps one of the most popular spots are the city's colleges which attract a lot of film crews for their architechture and look. This also translates to a sizebale amount being given to the college too. "On an average, college with a British-styled architecture gets one to two lakh rupees per day as rent," shares Dinkar Prasad, who works part time for production companies. The city is also known for its posh bunglows that are available at prices that are not out of the world.Says Nitin Desai, Art director, "Mumbai is getting too crowded which is one reason why we prefer Pune. Its also has a plus point of having historic buildings apart from the fact that we get good support from the people, good infrastructure and a wonderful weather condition." Desai has himself shot for films like Khakee, Bhagat Singh, Gandhi - My Father in Pune. "And what more, the sumptous misal pav and famous Kayani's biscuits of Pune always keep the crew happy, " he adds with a smile.Interstingly, according to a report jointly published by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and KPMG, the current value of the Indian film industry is US$ 2.11 billion and shall grow at 9.1 per cent till 2013, signifying the importance of this development. But it's also the cosmopolitan nature that Pune has begun to acquire that is making it a more formidable option for filming. Says Dilip Misri, executive producer, "Pune's is an unexposed area. Its structural and historical beauty along with access to actors and technicians makes it an ideal place for directors."

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