Director Anurag Kashyap eagerly anticipated gangster drama ‘Bombay Velvet’ is to be filmed in Sri Lanka, the latest high-profile Indian production to make use of the splendid array of locations on the Island nation.
Bombay Velvet joins Deepa Mehta’s ‘Water’ and, most recently, ‘Midnight’s Children’, both of which were shot in Sri Lanka, although Mehta’s reasoning for filming on the Island were more political.
Kashyap is reportedly keen to take advantage of the exceptionally well preserved colonial heritage in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo for his recreation of 1960’s Mumbai.
Bombay Velvet, which stars Ranbir Kapoor and Karan Johar, tells the story of the rise of Mumbai as the entertainmetn adn commercial capital of India during the 1960’s
“I needed a consistent heritage look and a skyline to loyally depict the era. But, Bombay’s skyline has transformed dramatically, most of the heritage buildings have been replaced by high-rises. So it did not fit the period we are looking to recreate. That’s why we are shooting in Sri Lanka, starting next month,” Kashyap told the Press Trust of India.
The Gangs of Wasseypur director finds making an authentic period film in India a challenge as most of the heritage buildings in Indian cities have either “disappeared or have been modified beyond recognition”.
“Unfortunately, India does not have a culture of preservation, whether it is films, monuments or buildings. Cities like Bombay have not been able to preserve their architectural heritage in the race for urban growth, and hence period films will face serious challenges in India, both in terms of shooting and authentically recreating the era.”
Kashyap also spoke of the challenges in researching for the film that went beyond architecture.
“Not only the buildings were missing, we did not know how an area, or the city in general looked during that period. So, we took help of not only available archival images but also approached families in Mumbai to share their old albums to help us in reimagining Bombay 50 years ago, a Bombay now largely missing in a vertically-growing Mumbai,” he said.
‘Bombay Velvet’ is the first film in a planned trilogy and is based on historian Gyan Prakash’s book Mumbai Fables, about the rise of the metropolis of Mumbai.
The film is released December 2014.