Bollywood stars avoid South African fans, media during shoots

September 3rd, 2008 - 2:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, Sep 3 (IANS) South Africa has become one of the favourite outdoor locations overseas for Bollywood and recently stars like Imran Khan and Vivek Oberoi have been flitting in and out of the country shooting for their films. But they have avoided the media, for which their producers cite their hectic work schedules.Local print media in particular have had a difficult time trying to secure even telephonic interviews with actors old and new, such as Imran, Shruti Rajalakshmi Haasan, Vivek and even the regular visitor Sanjay Dutt.

Locals involved in the production of the films “Luck” and “Prince of Thieves” said Indian producers had been irked by their previous experience, where set visits and even swamping of hotels and restaurants by ardent local fans had caused disruption. So now the producers had decided to keep ardent fans off the sets.

Filming of “Prince of Thieves” has been going on at a hectic pace in Durban for the past month. The film - starring Vivek, who has reportedly done a lot of his own stunts for it - is described as a “masala” entertainer action flick.

The streets of Durban, home to nearly half of South Africa’s 1.2 million citizens of Indian origin, were also abuzz with filming for “Luck”, which stars Shruti, daughter of Tamil thespian Kamal Haasan, making her Bollywood debut opposite Imran. The shooting moved to Durban from Cape Town last month and is now shifting to neighbouring country Namibia, where the final scenes would be shot.

Although the team is shooting all over the place, it is not interacting with the media.

However, Shah, who spent extensive time scouting locations in South Africa, said he had been impressed by the country’s beauty which lent itself well to the plot of “Luck”, a tale of people from different parts of the world, each with their own type of luck.

In Cape Town, action scenes, including jumps off burning trains and dramatic dives from helicopters, were shot against the backdrop of the internationally-renowned Table Mountain.

While the coastal beauty of such cities as Cape Town and Durban continues to lure Bollywood producers, the economic hub of Gauteng province remains less of a draw.

Producer Sunil Darshan was the first to carry out a major production, “Shakalaka Boom Boom”, at the Emperors Palace Resort in the province two years ago.

Earlier this year, singer-composer-turned-actor Himesh Reshammiya spent several weeks at Emperors Palace filming his forthcoming movie “Karzzz”, but unlike Darshan, who splashed out on media publicity events, Reshammiya and the team of “Karzzz” refused to allow media on the sets and would not speak to them off-line either.

The producers of several more Hindi films, including “Raaz 2″ and “Acid Factory”, are believed to have plans to shoot some scenes in South Africa as well. But they are also keeping the media at bay.

South Africa has become popular locale for Bollywood filmmakers because of its good weather and lower infrastructure costs than places like Switzerland and Australia.

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