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London: Foreign hub of Bollywood

By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
For those members of illustrious Bollywood families who don't have time for each other in Mumbai, London could be a viable alternative.

A few years ago Asia's Nightingale Lata Mangeshkar was on her annual holiday in London when.... guess whom she bumped into? "It was my sister Asha. I was out shopping when I met her." Recalls Lataji.

....Cut to Sammir Dattani. Strolling on Oxford Street earlier this week he bumped into producer J. Murli Manohar. The Provoked producer liked what he saw and immediately offered Sammir the lead in his next project.

Has London become the hotbed of Bollywood activities?

Recently Amrita Arora flew down to London to spend time with her buddy Kareena Kapoor who was in that part of the world for her concerts. "It was a good way to meet up. Here in Mumbai we hardly get time to meet at all. Bebo is busy with her films. I'm busy with mine. Yeah, London is a great spot to be in," says Amrita whose boyfriend is London-based.

Flying down to London is a hop and skip away. No wonder so many film units find it convenient to be there. Recently Akshay Kumar shot for two films -Vipul Shah's Namaste London and Priyadarshan's Bhaagam-Bhag simultaneously in London.

"It's a great spot to work and play," chuckles Madhavan who shot producer J. Murli Manohar's Ramji Londonwale in London and also returned to England recently to lose weight.

London-based produced J. Murli Manohar of Provoked thinks England is where a lot of Bollywood action is going to be in coming months. "It's convenient because you get the entire unit together without distractions. Currently I'm shooting Sajni in Kent , the first Kannada film to be shot in England . It introduces my niece Sharmila with Kannada's hottest pinup boy Dhyaan. We're sparing no expenses to make sure the Kannadna film will be on a par with any Hindi film." The Provoked producer intends to invite many top Bollywood stars and filmmakers for films to be shot in and around London.

On the eve of the release of his latest film Naksha Sunny Deol, who had once launched an ill-fated London-based film with Gurinder Chaddha named London, quietly flew to his favourite vacationing spot. "Mumbai kills me, London chills me," Sunny says with his new-found way with words. "In Mumbai there's no space to slacken the working pace. I make sure I come to London as often as I can, though not often enough!"

This time Sunny has more reason to feel relaxed. His kid-brother Bobby is also in London. "Bobby is here. But he's working for Shaad Ali's Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. I'm holidaying," jokes Sunny. "We're staying in different hotels. But we of course meet up. I think this is the first time we're in a foreign city for different purposes," laughs Sunny.

It seems almost the entire film industry-- well almost!-is in London shooting for various films. The units of Shaad Ali's Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom and Balakrishnan's Cheeni Kam are all stacked up at the St James Court at Buckingham turning the posh hotel into a miniature Bollywood.

Says Abhishek, "Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom is turning into a party. Shaad, Preity, Bobby, Lara and I are having a ball. Karan Johar was also here recently."

Says Karan, "I love London. We shot K3G here and I'm very sentimental about the city. Nowadays you can't step out on the street in London without bumping into a film unit from Mumbai."

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