Bollywood filmmakers' unyielding fascination for London
While Bollywood's love affair with the English capital is quite well known, it is perhaps the first time that four film units are simultaneously shooting there...
"Jin sar pe ho Waheguru ji ka haath, woh banate hai London ko dhobi ghat", went a dialogue in Sajid Khan's 2012 film 'Housefull 2', which was shot in the English capital. While the city is certainly far from being an open-air laundromat, the funny line in the comic caper, perhaps, aimed at emphasising B-Town's unyielding fascination for London — a hotspot for several filmmakers although newer and more economic destinations are gradually being explored.
Ranbir Kapoor (left) and Anushka Sharma are shooting for Karan Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil in London
With four film units currently parked there, the chances of bumping into a Bollywood star in the city are pretty high. And fans are making the most of it — posing with their cine idols and posting the pictures on social media. From Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif to Riteish Deshmukh and Lisa Haydon, a host of film celebs is being spotted at various locations across London shooting for their films. In the next few months, Bollywood will make its viewers journey to various scenic spots in London through their upcoming films. So, expect song and dance sequences with the Tower Bridge, London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Bridge, Leicester Square and other landmarks serving as the backdrop.
A snapshot of Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani and Ritiesh Deshmukh visiting Ranbir on the set of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
The latest unit to kick off its shoot schedule in London is Karan Johar's directorial venture 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' that stars Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. While Ranbir and Anushka have already started filming, Ash is slated to join them at a later stage. KJo has always maintained that London is his favourite destination — he had shot for 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham' (2001) there.
Karan Johar (left) with Anushka Sharma and Ranbir Kapoor in the English capital where they are shooting for 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil'
When 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' went on floors last week, KJo posted on Twitter, "You can never meet with the demands of the heart....our journey begins today." along with a snapshot of Anushka and Ranbir.
Another film that is being currently shot in London is 'Housefull 3'. The comic caper directed by Sajid-Farhad is the third instalment of the Housefull film series. The multi-starrer features Akshay Kumar, Abhishek Bachchan, Ritesh Deshmukh, Jacqueline Fernandez, Nargis Fakhri, Lisa Haydon and Boman Irani.
The cast and crew of 'Housefull 3'
In fact, Karan and Ranbir had surprise guests on their sets recently when Abhishek, Riteish and Boman dropped by to greet them. As 'Housefull 2' was also shot in London, the makers felt the backdrop needed to be the same for the third part of the franchise as well.
Katrina Kaif, who hails from London, is presently shooting for debutante director Nitya Mehra's 'Baar Baar Dekho' in the English capital with co-star Sidharth Malhotra. The film about time travel revolves around a journey of a couple across different age groups. Kat also has beau Ranbir in London shooting for his film, but the lovebirds prefer to keep their meetings in and around the city as discreet as possible.
London is home for Katrina Kaif (below), who is currently there for the shoot of Nitya Mehra's 'Baar Baar Dekho', which stars Sidharth Malhotra (above left, on the film set) as the male lead
On the pitch
Emraan Hashmi flew to London last month to begin shooting for Anthony D'Souza's biopic on ex Indian cricket captain, Mohammed Azharuddin. The actor also posted a series of tweets about his battle with London's cold weather. On his part, Azhar jetted off to London to guide Emraan during the shoot with some of the scenes slated to be filmed at the Lord's Cricket Ground, the Mecca of cricket.
Emraan Hashmi on the sets Of the Azhar biopic in London
Since Prince Charles is keen that Bollywood folk shoot in London often, more and more film units are expected to make their way to the city. As soon as Sushant Singh Rajput wraps up the Ranchi schedule of the Dhoni biopic, he will head there for the film's overseas schedule.
Earlier this year, Shah Rukh Khan shot for his upcoming film, 'Fan' at the Kings Cross Station in London. A portion of 'Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge' (1995) had been filmed at the same location.