In Love Aaj Kal (2009), Saif Ali Khan met Florence Brudenell-Bruce, the blonde Jo, in a London nightclub. In Cocktail, Deepika Padukone, who plays Veronica, rocks one of hot spots in the city with Saif. Interestingly, the premier nightclub that goes by the name of The Clapham Grand, started out as a music hall built for a consortium featuring Music Hall artistes Dan Leno and Herbert Campbell in the 1900s.
Thirty years layer, it was turned into Essoldo Cinema. Later, it was also used as a bingo hall. “I’m told that Charlie Chaplin is one of the famous names associated with it, as is designer Vivienne Westwood,” says co-producer Dinesh Vijan.
“Deepika entered Clapham Junction like a rock star in a black dress and ruled it for three days. She was positioned on the third level, spotlighted in the club’s sweeping psychedelic floodlights, surrounded by a cheering crowd, gyrating to ‘Main sharaabi…’, sung by Honey Singh and Imran Aziz Mian,” adds Dinesh.
Did Deepika drink to get into the mood? “No, the Clapham Grand has a terrific vibe. With live DJs and 300 people for company, it wasn’t difficult for her to get high,” says Dinesh, adding that every ‘friend’ of Veronica’s was handpicked 10 days before the shoot.
The building has a 112-year history. In 1991, it was partly restored for music concerts, but the venture flopped. Pub chain Wetherspoons then took it over to turn it into a pub. The Theatres Trust, English Heritage and Wandsworth Council objected to the project citing irreparable damage to the historic establishment. Dinesh says, “In 2005, the Victorian era theatre metamorphosed into a swanky night club, retaining The Grand as its name.”