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Bollywood fans making life hell for film crew

Feb 7th, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

BOLLYWOOD fans from Wellington’s Indian community are stalking the set of Player, the film being shot on the Capital’s streets.

In the latest incident, Cuba Mall was a bottleneck of people and movie crew today (see pictures at right of security guards trying to move people on), with security staff struggling to keep narrow walkways open as dozens milled around for a close look and to take photos.

“It’s a nightmare,” said one crew member. “This is what we’ve tried to avoid the whole way.

“Everywhere we have gone we’ve had people, photos, placards, banners – the full rig.”

She said she did not know how it got out into the Indian community: “But everyone seems to know where we are, every day.

“We had to hire extra security to stop them coming on set – running onto set. It’s cost us more money.”

However, the fans are undeterred.

“Who do they think they are trying to push us around,” said one mother, who with her daughter was ordered away from the Whitireia Journalism School building doorway by a security guard.

“We’ve never seen a film being taken before. We’re not moving anywhere.”

A passerby commented on the security being a bit “over the top”.

The security staff would not let anyone stay for long watching the shoot.

“Which part of ‘you have to keep the footpath clear’ don’t you understand?” one was heard yelling at onlookers.

Another confronted a fan: “You’ve had long enough. Move on.”

People were told if they were “in shot” they would have to move away from the public footpath.

At one point, everyone in the crowd was told to be quiet because filming was about to start.

Journalism school head Jim Tucker – who went out with a camera to assist with his students’ shoot – found himself being pushed away by one security guard.

“I was on the footpath, not in their roped-off area, and I pointed out that anyone can take a photo in a public place,” he says. “So the guard started waving his hands in front of my camera to obstruct any shots.”

BOLLY STAR: A-list Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor stars in the film.

Players, a remake of the movie The Italian Job, has had other challenges, including bad weather and cultural differences, according to one source involved with the shoot.

He says Wellington winds have been a challenge for the Indian film crew who are not used to gusts blowing their equipment around.

Another crewman has been sunburnt: “A lot of the Indians are peeling because they didn’t put their sunblock on.

“India is hotter than New Zealand, but they had not taken into account that New Zealand’s ozone layer has depleted.

“So we’ve sorted that out. A lot of them wear white muslin over their faces because the sun is so strong.”

The set is also fraught with cultural differences, he said.

“Obviously, they are from Mumbai and we are from New Zealand, so I don’t need to elaborate surely on what the cultural differences are. They should be glaringly obvious  – they’re Indian – we‘re Kiwis.

“There is 1.2 billion of them and there’s 4 million of us. We value life, safety, rules, regulations…”

Directing the film are the famous Indian A-list directors, the Burmawallas, who are distinguished by their all-white outfits.

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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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  1. I was the Location Manager for the filming in Cuba Mall and the reason we were asking people to move on or stand in the middle of the mall and not in front of the shops was to help the shop owners, so there trade for the day wouldn’t be hurt by our being there. But the fans and by standers just stood in front of shops and wouldn’t move unless asked by us. We were happy for people to watch but we had to keep the flow of traffic through the mall moving, that was what the WCC required from us and what we wanted to do to help the local shops from losing income. We hired six staff to help us with this but many Indian fans just wouldn’t move away or move back in front of shops after being asked to move away. Cameras were also fine but camera flashes were not, they can hold up filming and cost a crew lots of money so that’s why people may have been asked to put cameras away. I hope this helps you the understand what was going on and why, thanks Peter Tonks. Locations

  2. Samantha,

    The nicely worded article surely brings to the fore the plight of the film unit hounded by curious onlookers in your country. This and also the actions of the security personnel are completely understandable given the inherent conflict in their objectives.
    The one thing that stands out like an ugly thorn is the unsubstantiated quote about the ‘dont need to elaborate’ and ‘obvious’ cultural differences between India and Newzealand. The statement has a needless racial undertone and seems to be a misfit with the broad objectives of the article. Just one question (for the sake of argument), have you or the person you have quoted on the ‘obvious’ cultural differences ever had the privilege of visiting India or more specifically Mumbai? If no, i rest my case. If yes, well… you could have made more out of the trip by letting your vision pan beyond the obvious (high density of population)


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