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From the sets of <i>Cash</i>

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By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Thursday, September 21, 2006
It's blowing hot and cold in Cape Town, but for once it's not the stars. It's the weather.

It's 16 degree Celsius and we are driving past the Bridge To Nowhere, a link literally suspended mid-air, to go to our destination, the Table Bay Hotel. It's situated near the picturesque Victoria Wharf, and was inaugurated by Nelson Mandela seven years ago.

Our driver informs us, "The Bridge To Nowhere has been there for the last 35 years and is used for shooting purposes only. The saying goes that once Cape Town has made enough money from films, it will complete the bridge!"

Brochure for world

We are in Cape Town to cover the shooting of Sohail Maklai's Cash, directed by Anubhav Sinha.

The films stars Ajay Devgan, Sunil Shetty, Zayed Khan, Riteish Deshmukh, Esha Deol, Shamita Shetty and Dia Mirza.

According to David Francine, Chairman, Cape Town Roots Unlimited, "India is one of the biggest markets for us. Indian tourists here spend 250 million rand per annum. Film and TV are most viable opportunities for tourism. Cash is a film through which we aim to convert moviegoers to travellers."

Adds Lance Littlefield, GM, South African Tourism, India, "Cash is special to us as Cape Town is a star in the film. 700 prints of Cash will be distributed worldwide. For us, Cash is a giant brochure to show Cape Town to the world."

Speed demon

Says director Anubhav Sinha, "We chose South Africa for its beauty, adventure sports activities and affordability."

Cash is a fast-paced adventure thriller based around three diamonds, a villain (Sunil Shetty), three conmen-turned-enemies (Ajay, Riteish, Zayed), Shamita Shetty (the head of a security firm chasing the conmen) and Esha (Riteish and Zayed's love interest). Says Esha, "I play a reckless driver. Though I know how to drive a car, I had to take special lessons to learn 180 and 360-degree handbrake turns. It's all about high-speed driving. I've burnt up a lot of tyres while learning those moves," she giggles.

Here's the punch!

On the sets at Victoria Wharf, Sinha and South African action director Anthony Stone are busy canning an action scene with Shamita and Ajay. For Stone (who has worked as action coordinator with stars like Van Damme and Steven Seagal), Cash is his first Bollywood film.

"It's very exciting," says Stone, who has done the action design and storyboard for the film. "There will be all kinds of action sequences in this film, something that hasn't been seen before."

Says Sinha, "It's a scene on board a yacht where Shamita and Ajay come face to face. They are throwing punches at each other, but Ajay doesn't want to hit or hurt Shamita. So she catches him unawares and slaps him."

Living in style

Stylist Perry Patel has given all the guys different hairstyles. While Ajay sports a blond-brown shaggy cut, Zayed has dark blue streaks and Riteish has a blond-black streaked look.

Shamita, looking svelte in fitting red velvet pants, adds, "I get to do lots of action here which normally one doesn't get to do in Bollywood films. I've even learnt jet skiing for the first time. This is the first action sequence I am shooting and it's the easiest."

The stars have been shooting continuously for the last couple of weeks but there are no complaints. Riteish and Shamita say in unison, "Sohail is the best producer in the world! He has given us all 4-bedroom villas to stay in and it's like home away from home. We cook, hang out together and have lots of fun!"



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