Film making is restarting and as HAYLEY MURDEN reports it will see Bollywood producers among the first to return to Scotland
The worldwide film industry ground to a halt as Covid-19 lockdown commenced. Not only were movies unable to make it to cinemas, but production on new projects stopped.
Now that measures are easing and travel restrictions are being lifted, various films and television shows are finding themselves suddenly back on track.
India is the world’s biggest film producer across several regional industries such as Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam, the most enormous being the money-making juggernaut that is Bollywood, based in Mumbai and primarily filming in Hindi and English. It has announced Bell Bottom (2021) as the first post-covid film to make use of UK destinations, and a film crew will be heading to Scotland next month.
A popular choice for Bollywood films on location, the UK has been the setting for such blockbusters as Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012), and Namastey London (2007). Most of these feature England (primarily London), but Scotland has also been the setting for films such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) and Mausam (2011), which filmed in Edinburgh specifically.
Bell Bottom, a spy thriller set in the 1980s, will star Akshay Kumar and Vaani Kapoor. It is a remake of the 2019 Kannada picture of the same name.
The film is produced by Vikram Malhotra, the CEO of Abundantia Entertainment, who has worked multiple times with bankable star Kumar.
Malhotra has worked with Amazon Prime, making Breathe – the second Indian original on the streaming platform. His next scheduled release is Shakuntala Devi (starring Vidya Balan) which is a biographical account on the life of the London-based mathematician.
The UK, and Scotland in particular, has also been a popular choice for Hollywood in the last few years, with films such as the Avengers and The Fast and The Furious series setting various action sequences in the cobbled streets of Edinburgh, while the city has also been used in television dramas, most recently Belgravia. Proposed new studio space is likely to prove a big attraction for more productions.
Film and Television in total is worth £9.9 billion to the UK economy while production spend alone contributed £3.1bn in 2018 and it is responsible for 77,000 production workers.
Making sure that the film industry can restart smoothly and safely in the UK, the government and health bodies have created new rules and changes to be adhered to as productions commence.