Three of England’s top cricket grounds have opened their doors to Bollywood for the first time. The Oval and Lord’s in London and Trent Bridge in Nottingham will be the locations for Akshay Kumar’s Patiala House. The film will release post Diwali, alongside Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows.
The movie is set entirely in London and revolves around a cross-generation conflict within an immigrant Punjabi family that lives in Patiala House in Southall. The son, Gattu (Akshay Kumar), wants to be a bowler for the England cricket team, while his family completely opposes the idea.
“We have two Test matches in the film,” informs Bhushan Kumar, chairman of T-Series, who is producing the Rs 50 crore film with Mukesh Talreja. “It wasn’t difficult getting permission to shoot in these legendary cricketing grounds. You don’t have to pull strings or go through the bureaucratic hurdles that you usually face when shooting in India. Filming in England is a cakewalk, it just takes time to get the permits in order.”
Bhushan Kumar applied for the permissions three to four months ago. “We completed a 14-day shoot at The Oval, part of which was shot at night,” he informs. Kumar’s friends who are professional cricketers coached him in the intricacies of bowling prior to the shoot. These included former Pakistani captain and fast bowler Wasim Akram.
A professional cricketer was on the sets to ensure that director Nikhil Advani was following the rules of the gentleman’s game to the T. Akshay Kumar is a natural cricketer who has played matches at IIFA and bowls to his son, Aarav.
Twelve professional cricketers will make an appearance in the movie with him. These include West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard, South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs, Australia’s Andrew Symonds, Simon Katich and Dirk Nannes, Pakistan’s Kamran Akmal, England’s Nasser Hussain, Graham Gooch, Graeme Hick and Alex Tudor. Commentators Alan Wilkins, Sanjay Manjrekar and Nikhil Chopra are also a part of the cast.
“We wanted the matches to look authentic. People should feel that an actual cricket match is in progress, which is why we roped in so many cricketers,” points out Bhushan Kumar. “It was very difficult because they had to take permission from their Cricket Boards. Unfortunately, even though we were in talks with MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, they could not get permission from the BCCI.”