BOLLYWOOD PRODUCTION HEADS TO OSOYOOS
Osoyoos is once again playing host to the movie world, but this time it’s not Hollywood looking to shoot in the beautiful south Okanagan; it’s Bollywood.
For the first time ever, Osoyoos will provide the setting in an upcoming Bollywood-Punjabi production entitled, ‘Mirza: The Untold Story.’
“B.C. is beautiful,” said film producer Aman Khatkar. You have everything here. You have mountains and lakes. Whatever you need is here.”
Without giving away too much, the film centres on drug and gang violence in British Columbia, but also has a love story entwined in the plot. The movie is being directed by Baljit Deo and stars Gippy Grewal and Rahul Dev from India, and from England, Mandy Takhar.
Unlike a lot of other movies filmed in Osoyoos and the Okanagan, the setting will not act as a stand-in, but will actually represent their true locations.
“Most of the actors have never been to Osoyoos in their lives and now they’re like ‘Oh my God, this is beautiful,’” said Khatkar.
Even all the cameramen, they are like, ‘My goodness.’ This is something they’ve never seen before.”
Besides the scenery, Khatkar said another reason for choosing Osoyoos is the similarity between the lifestyle here and days gone by in India. He said the way the farmers live and operate in the Okanagan is exactly the way people used to live in India.
“Same cultural values and same family values, like India,” said Inda Raikoti, who is also a producer on the film.
According to Khatkar, this will be the most expensive Bollywood-Punjabi production to date, mainly because of the star-studded line up, but also due to the movie being filmed entirely in British Columbia. Khatkar said labour and technical costs run much higher compared to filming in India.
In addition to Osoyoos, some portions of the film were shot in the greater Vancouver area and there is a possibility of shooting on Vancouver Island.
Khatkar and Raikoti said the Town and people of Osoyoos have been wonderful and they will definitely be coming back to shoot future productions.
“We don’t have a word to describe it,” said Khatkar. “Even though it’s only a four-hour drive from Vancouver, when it comes to the people here and the weather, it’s completely different. We love this place.”
‘Mirza: The Untold Story’ will include dialogue in both English and Punjabi and is scheduled to be released worldwide on April 6, 2012.