While India has long had its own thriving film community in Bollywood, it is often equally appealing to foreign productions looking to set up shop throughout the country. Most recently A Mighty Heart made use of the Asian land in bringing to life the true story of slain journalist Daniel Pearl.
Based on the book of the same name by Pearlâ€™s wife, Mariane, the movie delves into the lives of the Pearls (played by Oscar winner Angelina Jolie and nominee Dan Futterman), leading up to and following the capture and subsequent murder of the former South Asian Bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal. Filmed throughout India and Pakistan, director Michael Winterbottom squeezed every last drop from his inspired setting and followed the storyline through streets of police raids and processions to landmarks such as the Gateway of India and Churchgate Station. Plus, a marked amount of extras and crew were farmed from the local talent pool and sometimes even right off the street. “If a guy on the street looked right for the part, we grabbed him,” explains casting director Wendy Brazington, who also called on well-known Indian faces Irfan Khan and Archie Panjabi for weighty supporting roles.
With borders along the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal and inlands made of sandy deserts, Indiaâ€™s landscape provides the variety needed for productions of many a setting and experience. Through the National Film Development Corporation Limited, productions of any size can submit to receive partial funding and production assistance in the form of photographers, art directors, Steadicams, mikes and booms, computer graphics and lodging, among other filming necessities. Plus, the task of dealing with customs and local/national government falls on the shoulders of the NFDC, leaving moviemakers free to storyboard and dare to dream.
Wondering how you can experience India on film if you havenâ€™t caught many Bollywood movies? Watch the following:
The Bourne Supremacy
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Passage to India
For more information on A Mighty Heart, released domestically by Paramount Vantage on June 22, visit www.amightheartmovie.com.
For more information on India and filming in the country, check out www.incredibleindia.org and the National Film Development Corporation Ltd. at www.nfdcindia.com.
SOUND OFF: In the past few years alone there have been at least two biopics per year. Which is your favorite of all time? Sound off in our comments section!