WITH literally billions of tickets sales every year, the Asian film industry is one the biggest, and most profitable, businesses in the world.
Countless movie goers fill cinemas, watch DVDs at home and buy soundtracks to innumerable releases. The term ‘Bollywood’ was conjured up as a tidy means of summing up the unique cultural identity and blockbuster impact of both the business and the genre it created. And now, a home-grown effort from west London is hoping to get in on the act.
Naachle London is the first of its kind - a movie shot in Hindi with all the trappings of a traditional Bollywood film, but the twist is that every single member of the cast and crew, from the scriptwriters, music composer, singers, dancers, through to the editor and producer, is British.
With a comparitively tiny budget of just under £1 million, the film is a love story set against the backdrop of the London Mela. Its makers have dubbed it ‘BollyBrit.’
The film contains plenty of recognisable sights, from Ealing Common to the Broadway. A major song and dance number even takes place at Northala Fields in Northolt.
Directing the film is proud Ealing resident Neville Raschid, 55, also a co-founder of the production house Aviary Films. Born in Calcutta and a veteran of Questors Theatre, Mr Raschid said he is immensely proud of the film, which he says breaks new ground.
He said: “It really is fantastic to be out there pioneering something entirely new. This is the first Bollywood-style film with a 100 per cent British cast and crew.
“The film is a little fairytale set in a little Eden, and that to me is Ealing.”
It was while making his previous film, which Mr Raschid describes as an ‘Ealing comedy’ that he was struck with the idea for his latest production, which he said is intended to capture the “heart and soul” of life in Ealing and the rest of west London.
The movie was shot from July through to September last year. When riots and looting devastated the borough’s streets in August, the show had to go on and camera crews kept filming.
“That’s my war story,” said Mr Raschid. “Whenever you’re making a small film like this, the schedule simply can’t be moved. When the riots happened I just couldn’t believe it.
“We were due to shoot on the Tuesday of that week around Ealing Broadway and the whole place went into lockdown. The whole day was just tension, tension, tension.”
At one point the crew even witnessed a mugging before the thief was stopped by a passer-by and frogmarched to Ealing Police Station. Mr Raschid also said another arduous experience came while shooting in Kew Gardens during a torrential downpour.
But the shoot went as planned and the movie spent a few more months in post-production. Starring in it is 15-year-old Acton resident Gursimran Deu, making her big screen debut as one of the main characters, Jesse.
A pupil at St Augustine’s Priory in Ealing, she said: “Making the film was a great experience, it’s already taught me so much and it was fantastic to be a part of it. I just hope that people everywhere enjoy the film when it comes out.”
Naachle London will have its world premiere, complete with a red carpet, next Wednesday (February 22) at Cineworld in Feltham. The movie will be released in the UK on February 24 and is planned for release in India later this year. Find out more by visiting the website www.naachelondonmovie.com