Big-budget Bollywood movie to invade Wellington

Saturday, December 11, 2010

WELLINGTON - It seems New Zealand is winning over the Indian film industry.

Reports are abuzz that there will be significant road closures when a big-budget Bollywood movie rolls into the capital town next month.

Wellington City Council is considering applications to close parts of the city centre for two weeks from mid-January for filming of an Indian remake of the Michael Caine classic ‘The Italian Job’, reports

A shooting schedule for the film titled ‘Players’, obtained by The Dominion Post, has revealed many parts of Wellington would feature in the movie.

One scene will involve a chase on the airport runway between a chopper-style motorcycle and a private jet.

An airport spokeswoman confirmed negotiations were under way for the film’s producers to use the runway.

Scenes are also planned for around the City to Sea Bridge and lagoon, Te Papa’s Awesome Forces display, and Cuba Mall’s JJ Murphy’s pub, Amcal Pharmacy and Tulsi Indian restaurant.

“There will be a spectacular explosion involving an armoured truck but obviously involving special effects, which will ensure central Wellington is not blown to smithereens,” said a source.

Wellington will be ‘playing itself’ in the film, allowing the city to be showcased to a vast Indian audience.

Bollywood actors Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor will star in the movie, which is expected to create massive interest in tourism to Wellington.

Wellington film manager Delia Shanly said local extras and crew might be used in the film, but the financial payoff for Wellington would come once ‘Players’ was released in India.

“The silver screen is where people often see their dream locations. They [film producers] want Wellington to look great and gorgeous. We look forward to people seeing that and going, ‘Oh my God, I have to go there’,” she added.

Car chase scenes will be shot in Featherston, Brandon and Johnston streets.

Other closures include Woodward St, The Terrace pedestrian underpass to Woodward St, and Massey Rd, at Kau Bay. Roads could be closed for up to 15 hours a day.

City council spokesman Richard MacLean said the council understood retailers in the CBD were already being alerted to next month’s disruption and he was not aware of any compensation being offered.

Motorists will also have to cope with the closure of The Terrace tunnel at times during the next nine months as it is upgraded to minimise the risk of death from a tunnel fire. (ANI)

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