Big Hollywood stars may be shooting in the Capital, but not everyone is thrilled. In fact, the shooting of Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist in Old Delhi meant big losses for small businesses in the area.
Last Sunday, Nair began shooting at the Taj Mahal Hotel on the Church Mission Road in Fatehpuri, Old Delhi with actors Liev Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland and Riz Ahmed. The shoot went on till Friday night, and the area around the movie set was camouflaged — with heavy black curtains along the streets, closely parked vanity vans, generator carts and goods trucks, in order to ensure that shoots were not leaked.
That’s not all, the narrow entrance to the Church Mission Road area was blocked due to buses and mobile lavatories that were used by the crew of 200 odd members.
“Nobody could even make out that there are shops or restaurants behind the trucks. We lost almost R5,000 every day because the trucks were there all day,” says Gianchand from Sheesh Mahal Restaurant. Rajendar Restaurant, which is down the road from the film sets, faced losses of about Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 daily.
Even though it’s peak wedding season in the Capital, Jagdeep Singh from Babaji Cloth House that supplies tents and other wedding necessities, had barely any customers during the shoot. “For three days, we went home without earning a single rupee. Our shop was completely hidden behind a generator cart and only regular clients could rummage through to get to us. We lost almost Rs 10,000 every day,” he says.
Monis Ahmed from Jade, a metal souvenir shop, says he had thought a foreign movie’s shoot would bring in more sales. Vinod Kumar from Sharda Associates says, “They should at least compensate us for the loss.”
The movie also stars Pakistani singer-actor Meesha Shafi and Hollywood actor Kate Hudson and is slated to be out next year.
The owner of the Taj Mahal Hotel allegedly earned R5 lakh per day during the six day shoot. However, the hotel refused to comment on the matter. The filmmakers also hired a nearby motel, Green Restaurant and 50 rickshaws were hired for a day last week. Each rickshaw puller was paid Rs 600.
On the itinerary
On Saturday, the crew of the film was reportedly spotted at a school in Kamla Market, near Ajmeri Gate where the next leg of filming is scheduled. They have already filmed in Nehru Place, Khan Market, Noida and other areas of the Capital. The film will also be shot in New York and Istanbul.