Bollywood in Melbourne
A new Bollywood film about legendary Indian athlete Milkha Singh will be partly shot in Melbourne, further strengthening screen ties between Victoria and India.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Run Milkha Run) is a biopic about Singh, one of India's most popular sporting heroes, who first represented his country at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and eventually won 77 of the 80 international races during his career.
Filming will take place in Melbourne, at sites including Flinders Street Station and the Melbourne Cricket Ground, for up to three weeks with an expenditure of around $1.5 million. The movie is directed by celebrated Bollywood film maker Rakeysh Mehra and stars popular actors Farhan Akhtar and Sonam Kapoor. The total budget for the film is estimated at $5.6 million.
Melbourne has been the setting for two other blockbuster Bollywood films – Chak De India and Salaam Namaste.
Salaam Namaste was the first Indian movie filmed entirely in Australia using various locations in Melbourne and regional Victoria, including the Great Ocean Road and Rye Beach on the Mornington Peninsula. It was the second-highest grossing Bollywood film of 2005, with an estimated audience of 300 million.
Melbourne landmarks including Federation Square and the General Post Office building appear in the film, which features Indian superstars Preity Zinta and Saif Ali Khan.
Director Siddharth Anand had been planning to shoot the film in San Francisco, but after a visit to Melbourne in 2004 was impressed by the city's architecture, variety of settings and clear light for filming.
Also filmed on location in Melbourne in late 2006, Chak De India starring Shahrukh Khan, showcases Melbourne's famous sporting venues, parks and café scene.
Chak De India tells the story of an ex-Indian hockey captain who resurrects his career by coaching a team of young girls to victory on tour in Australia. Locations featured include the Yarra River and Southbank precinct, Carlton Gardens and Docklands.