By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: Vishal Bhardwaj says shooting his new film in Gujarat was a cakewalk, all thanks to the state’s brand ambassador the Big B Amitabh Bachchan.
In fact, the shooting nearly came to a halt when Imran Khan and Anushka Sharma were unceremoniously asked to leave an important location where most of the film was shot.
One phone call to the Big B and from him to the powers-that-be solved what could have been a critical loss of time revenue and faith for the crew of Bharadwaj’s Matri Ki Bijli Ka Mandola.
That Gujarat is turning out to be an alternate paradise for filmmakers in Mumbai is proven by the increase in the number of films being shot in the State.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Nikhil Advani are currently shooting their new films Ram Leela and D Day, respectively, in the Kutch district of Gujarat.
One hears Ajay Devgn and Vipul Shah are planning to buy land in Gujarat to build studios in the state.
Could these developments denoting Bollywood’s movement towards Gujarat have something to do with the Big B, Amitabh Bachchan being the ambassador for Gujarat tourism?
It has now come to light that the Big B stepped in at a very critical moment to bail Vishal out of a crisis when the filmmaker was shooting on location in Rajkot, Gujarat.
Suddenly things started falling apart.
Says a source very close to the project, “Vishal had a certain kind of location in mind. He needed a particular haveli for Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola. He finally found it in Rajkot. Luckily for Vishal, the haveli was available for shooting. Everything was finalized. But then some suddenly, a government rule regarding relics and heritages came up, and the deal fell apart.”
In a panic Vishal got in touch with the Big B.
Says our source, “Amitji is a fan of Vishal’s work. Vishal got in touch with Amitji about the haveli in Rajkot. One phone call is all it took from Amitji to get the haveli back into Vishal’s shooting schedule. Vishal owes Amitji a big favour. If it wasn’t for that haveli in Rajkot, Vishal’s film would have been stuck.”
Vishal Bhardwaj confirms, “Yes, Mr Bachchan got us permission to shoot in the haveli. And not just that, the permission to shoot in Gujarat was obtained by him. Because of him we were treated like stars in Gujarat.”
While this incident has definitely brought the Big B and the enterprising Bharadwaj together, we also hear that the two are most certainly getting together for a movie next year.