It's destination Japan for YRF

Though they have not yet pinpointed which of their future projects will be shot in Japan, Yash Raj Films (YRF) folk have been scouring locations to base one of their films in the land of the rising sun.

For a chase sequence? The fish market in Tokyo.
For a chase sequence? The fish market in Tokyo. Pics/Shaheen Parkar

After the premiere of their Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif production Ek Tha Tiger in Tokyo recently, YRF folk visited several spots in the city that could be possible venues for the shoot. They included Aashish Singh vice president, (production) and Avtar Panesar, vice president (international operations). Director Kabir Khan also accompanied them.

Aashish Singh
Song picturisation, anyone? Aashish Singh of YRF checks out the scene at the Hama Rikyu gardens in Tokyo

Over the years, not too many Bollywood flicks have been shot in Japan due to the high costs involved. Tokyo is considered to be one of the most expensive cities in the world. Reason enough for production houses to stay away. But with Japan keen on luring Indian tourists and Tokyo being the candidate city for the 2020 Olympics, the authorities feel that they need to open their doors to Indian production houses.

Avtar Panesar and Aashish Singh with director Kabir Khan
Food for thought: YRF folk Avtar Panesar and Aashish Singh with director Kabir Khan at a sushi bar

Among the scenic locations that were checked out in Tokyo included the Hama Rikyu Gardens, a sprawling landscaped garden surrounded by a seawater moat filled by the Tokyo bay. In the 17th century it was the family garden of the ruler Tokugawa Shogun with duck hunting grounds, teahouses (which still exist!) and the flora of Japan including the cherry blossom trees. The heritage site is dotted by Tokyo’s skyline of skyscrapers and a must see for tourist with its boat rides. For any Bollywood potboiler this is the ideal location for a song picturisation.

On the streets of Tokyo
B-Town calling: On the streets of Tokyo

Explains Aashish Singh, vice president, production, YRF, “At the moment we are exploring the options available. The Japanese Tourist Board is keen to have Bollywood films shot in their country as well as showcase Hindi films to the Japanese audience. We will take a call at a later date.”

Another location that was checked out was the Tsukiji fish market, which is the biggest seafood market in the world especially for tuna and salmon. Apart from the export processing areas, the area has shops that sell Japanese kitchenware, seafood and many restaurants, especially sushi bars. The place beckons for a chase sequence especially with goons chasing the hero in its narrow alleys and food carts being tossed all around!

For Kabir Khan, the biggest attraction in Tokyo was the food especially “beef sashimi, Kobe steaks and the sushi bars.” So if he had to direct, there would have to be a scene in the seafood restaurants that dot the city.

Adds Avtar Panesar, vice president, international operations, YRF, “There is a big interest in Bollywood in Japan. We will be visiting the place again once we finalise a project.”¬†

Some B-Town films shot in Japan
-- Pramod Chakravarty’s Love In Tokyo (1966) starring Joy Mukherjee and Asha Parekh

Asha Parekh and Joy Mukherjee

-- Ramanand Sagar’s spy thriller Aankhen (1968) featuring Dharmendra and Mala Sinha
-- Pan Nalin’s 2006 film Valley of Flowers starring Naseeruddin Shah, Milind Soman and Mylene Jampanoi¬†

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