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No non-veg food, but real crowd

Gokarna, holy location in Karnataka, opens doors to film shoot, director Rohit Shetty uses 5,000 locals for Singham.

bollywood Updated: Jul 15, 2011 19:25 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya

Eight years after Zameen (2003), Rohit Shetty took a break from the super hit Golmaal franchise to return to hardcore action. Singham was planned with plenty of hand-to-hand fights that were a trademark of the films his father, actor-fight master MB Shetty, and his mentor and best friend father’s, Veeru Devgn, had choreographed and executed.



“This kind of ‘herogiri’ is not new to Hindi cinema, but not something we have seen in the last decade. It should come as a novelty to today’s generation,” points out Rohit. The only location he did a recce of was Gokarna, his native place. A holy place in Karnataka, it had never opened its doors to a Bollywood film unit, but made an exception for the local boy.



For four days, Rohit took over the bustling market, and the locals watched Ajay Devgn chase goons, with Rohit and his camera crew in hot pursuit. When he finally landed some deadly punches, the assembled crowd would break out into loud cheers. “We had planned to cart down junior artistes in thousands from Mumbai for these scenes. But on the first day, the whole town turned up and their numbers crossed 5,000. And we knew we could shoot with real crowds in a real market,” says the director, all praise for the disciplined onlookers.



The locals had seen the Tamil Singham and instantly connected Rohit’s film with the super hit Surya-starrer. Devgn, meanwhile is considered the Surya of the North. Rohit recalls that once when he was sitting outside a stranger’s door, waiting for the cameras to be set, the owner invited him and his team in, saying it was too hot to sit outside. “Whether it was the cops, the authorities or the ‘aam aadmi’, everyone was courteous and cooperative,” says Rohit.



“The only concession we had to make was that there was no non-vegetarian food and liquor during our stay there. It wasn’t much of a sacrifice because home-cooked delicacies arrived in plenty from local homes and restaurants.”