Shooting behind the closed doors of a studio on a set made to resemble a kitchen or a court is now passé. Bollywood directors are increasingly hitting the streets to capture the raw sights, sounds and feel of real locations. Most films released in the last few weeks, for instance, Dhobi Ghaat, No One Killed Jessica and Band Baaja Baaraat have been shot in real locales — the ghats of Mumbai and the busy streets of Delhi.
“The audience finds a connection to the film through the locations. I was very sure I wanted to shoot the film at all real locations. We shot Patiala House on the streets of London, the Gurudwara, the Oval stadium and South Hall,” says director Nikhil Advani. “Though one has to wait for permission, arrange for security, I don’t like to compromise. I make sure I get what I want,” he says.
Band Baaja Baaraat director Maneesh Sharma says a real location makes a film more visibly distinct. “It was a conscious decision to give a texture and flavour to the film. I wanted to capture the essence of Delhi very well.”
High-end equipment makes it easier to shoot a film in real locations, says Sudhir Mishra. “Besides technology, there is a new breed of actors who merge with the crowd very well,” he adds.
In Dhobi Ghat, the city of Mumbai is an important character and a large chunk of the film has been shot in the narrow and crowded Mohammad Ali Road. “I have tried to show all the facets of the city,” says Rao.
How difficult is to handle the crowd? “If you go to the streets with norms that you are the intruders and not them and talk to them politely and understand their problems and try and adjust, its not much of a problem,” said Mishra.