Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Petition on behalf of the City of Chicago

I recently saw Anjaana Anjaani and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, both filmed (at least partly) in New York. I never quite got the fascination with New York, and since I was recently in beautiful Chicago, I am writing this petition in favour of more Bollywood films being made in this extremely photogenic city. Below is a short and definitely not exhaustive list of reasons why Bollywood would benefit from shooting in a surely less expensive place than New York Chicago.

  • No Pankha-wale needed - CHECK
That's a no-brainer since Chicago is dubbed The Windy City. That should be the first clue that Bollywood movies would be right at home here. Think of all the staff you can save money on, now that they are not required to sit around operating fans in front of the hero and heroine for every important shot. That cuts flight, accommodations and meals for at least two staff (one for the hero and one for the heroine) that can be left at home.

Sure, there's always the danger of some Marilyn Monroe-ish accident happening to the heroine's dress, but that only means they will have to wear saris or very tight (possibly short) skirts, and both options seem perfectly suitable to me.

  • Shiny expensive looking apartment with great view that the hero could never afford in real life? - CHECK

  • Jaw dropping group song locations? - CHECK

All these people would provide the ideal white crowd dancing to Indian music for the first chorus. And if going for the more traditional look (though really, who does these days?), Chicago has plenty of Desis that would be more than happy to oblige.

The second chorus would of course move here because how cool would it be to have a Bollywood dance reflected in the Bean? I can't imagine anything more badass!

The third chorus could have people breaking away on the edge of the park:

Meanwhile the hero and heroine are flirting on the bridge:

Then we move on to one of the numerous cafes and restaurants for the next scene. Perfect! What next?

  • Romantic settings? - CHECK
I am picturing the romantic song of the film starting with this shot...

...and ending with this one (because I love symmetry and so does Bollywood)...

...while in between some lovey dovey (no pun intended) moments here...

and of course here:

That just-married couple kissing on the divider is the perfect example of why this setting would work wonderfully.

  • Train stations? - CHECK
Hero and heroine meet or part ways, or see family off, or mope for their lost love. Or if it's not a love story (hey, it's possible, don't nay-say it), this is where they would take the train every morning to go to their multi-million dollar company, before they teach us a lesson about honest work... or something like that...

Not my picture this time, so credit to the these guys for this one.

Of course there are also many highways overlooking the city as well as fancy bridges to complete the outside shots, so no need to worry about that at all.

  • Last minute needs? - CHECK
Chicago boasts a bountiful Indian neighbourhood where delicious food can be ordered for the cast and crew and in the event of the heroine's salwar-kameez getting ripped or her fragile bangles getting broken, anything can be resupplied easily.

  • South Indian films too? - Quick! UNCHECK!
Well... I tried to picture a South Indian movie in Chicago, but somehow the image of a truck full of rowdies waving machetes in the air while chasing the hero just didn't look right impressed over the architectural perfection of this intersection... Eh?

But that's ok because I remembered that I owe myself a post about my absolute favourite tropes in SI films, and the truck of rowdies is at the top of that list, so it will get its due soon enough.

Of course, the truth is I prefer Indian movies shot in India, but with so many NRIs all over the world, I can appreciate the need to branch out and offer milieus that are more familiar to the NRIs and look exotic for the people back home. So in that spirit, and all jokes aside, here's hoping for the next Bollywood movie filmed in America to feature one of my favorite cities around here.

ETA: I probably should specify that my petition is requesting films to be shot in Chicago and recognize it as Chicago. Chicago posing as New York doesn't count, just like Toronto posing for New York doesn't count. I want them to show the city in all its glory, not to shoot in unrecognizable corners and hope they will get away with it. Just in case that needed clarifying...


dustdevil liz said...

OMG, Bollywood dance in the Bean is a fantastic idea, even if it takes Karan Johar to do it.

I actually think that Chicago's history of corrupt politicans and organized crime makes it perfect for SI movies. Just switch out those machetes for Al Capone-style tommy guns, and it's a match. Also, there's a great mustache affinity. Mike Ditka could be a great SI father/baddie.

Dolce and Namak said...

Karan Johar? No no, just Farah Khan :D KJo is into serious movies now... :P

Ah, and I hadn't thought of adapting a SI movie to match the city, but I think you're on to something there!

But speaking of SI movies and Chicago, looking again at that first picture of Gehry's stage in Millenium Park, it hit me that this must have been the inspiration for one of Aishwarya's head pieces in Robot!! :)

Anonymous said...

Where's the obligatory shot from a boat on the overcrowded lakeshore?!

Chicago is nice except when it freezes your balls off only eight months of the year.

Also facets apart the Midwest has no Film schools worth their name where Indian cinematographers could have fond.memories graduating from the way nyc or philly have.

Ever see anyone shoot in st Louis mo or Milwaukee wi?


Dolce and Namak said...

Oh no, I missed the shot from the boat this trip. And definitely an entire scene is required on a boat somewhere around the canal!

And they didn't seem to care about the cold when they filmed in Toronto for KiKo :P Besides, it only takes 2 months to shoot a movie, make it July and August and you're good to go!

tolly said...

Ramesh . yes. 'padamati Sandyaragam' telugu movie shot is st.Louis (1986).

It is Hollywood actor 'Thomas Jane' first movie.

Movie more details can be found here

A 16-member crew came from India. The film's shooting started on August 3, 1986 and continued for next 45 days in Chicago, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Niagara, Wheeling, New Jersey, etc.

tolly said...

I forgot to give the link to the st.louis song from that movie


tolly said...

and also this song from the same movie is shot in st.Louis botonical garden

Dolce and Namak said...

Hehe, Tolly, as always, a wealth of information! :) Will have to check out those videos when I get home!

tolly said...

Sorry. I messed up the youtube links. here are the corect links for 1 and 2 videos I metnioend above.

Anonymous said...

well, at least st louis has an arch. let's find a city with no distinguishing features and a twin cities? minneapolis..or kansas city kansas..or cedar rapids iowa..

PkG said...

I would second Chicago! I always love good architecture as a backdrop. But don't wish for Bollywood movies on your home territory. Once they do that you start getting distracted all the time by logic gaps and geographical nonsense. And you keep thinking, why didn't they avoid those ghastly houses in the background? Believe me, I know what I'm talking about, living in Switzerland!

Anna said...

Well What's Your Raashee? filmed part of an item song in Chicago. I was kind of disappointed they didn't take advantage of all the wonderful spots they could have filmed, but it's something!

Dolce and Namak said...

@ PkG: I soo know what you're saying: I was doing that with KiKo, and on top of it, spent a lot of time being upset that they missed out on so many great locations and instead filmed in a lot of boring ones... But that's why I would never root for a city I live in ;)

@ Anna - exactly, wasn't that such a disappointment? There were no fun spots... Hmpff! Why is it so hard to go check out the city before you film in it and since you're paying, pay for some of the good stuff... It baffles the mind... :-/ But I keep hoping :D

Nicki said...

Interesting! I never been there but I think they should come to Atlanta instead :D

Dolce and Namak said...

Ooh, never been to Atlanta, Nicki. Must come and take some cool pictures there too if they're worth sending to Bollywood producers ;)

Anonymous said...

wellll well well
have you seen dhoom 3? the whole dance in the bean thing etc etc..
perfect isn't it?

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