New Yorkers are up in arms over the construction of a mosque on Ground Zero, the now-historic site of the Twin Towers tragedy. A lot has changed in the US since the 9/11 attacks and Siddharth Anand, the director of Anjaana Anjaani who recently wrapped up his Ranbir Kapoor-Priyanka Chopra starrer with shoots in New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas, admits as much.
“People are edgy now if they see a bunch of Asians with huge cameras resembling canons. Unless you have your papers in order and a security cordon in place, you could have choppers buzzing over your heads and cop cars with sirens interrupting your shoot,” says Anand, for whom some airports and a few bridges were out-of-bounds too.
However, Anand did manage to film his opening scene on the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. One of the most photographed sites in the world, the 73-year-old vermilion orange bridge has been declared one of the modern Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Quiz the young director on his first impression of the landmark visual that has featured in several movies and countless documentaries, including Eric Steel’s controversial 2006 The Bridge that caught 23 jumps, and he retorts, “Dark.”
Anand reminds you that it’s one of the most popular suicide spots in the world. “The deck is around 245 feet above water, and the four-minute free fall is akin to a dive from a 100-floor building. Most people die on impact, and the rest drown or die from hypothermia,” he informs, adding that in 2005, the number of suicide deaths crossed 1,200, with one new death every two weeks. “The bridge is now fitted with suicide hotlines, surveillance patrol carts and lined with helpline signposts as deterants against death.”
However, he is quick to assert that there’s nothing dismal about his film. It’s frothy and full of life, and the fun, he says, spilled over into all-night parties in their suites. “We were in the last leg of our schedule and with things going well, we wanted to let our hair down. Sometimes the bashes would get a little noisy,” he admits. “The manager would threaten to call in the cops but fortunately they never came calling.”