Monday, October 18, 2004

Bollywood eyes sleepy SA town

By Kuben Chetty

Former Bollywood actor and now producer Anil Kapoor, an Indian director of both stage and film, and film crews from India and South Africa have been scouring Eshowe for the ideal spot to film a movie called Gandhi, My Father.

The movie is based on Mahatma Gandhi's tempestuous relationship with his son but the film crew's clandestine activities have sparked plenty of interest in the town as well as plenty of hush-hush rumours.

So what is going on in Eshowe?

Is there any truth that major Bollywood stars like Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan are about to do a big budget movie using the sprawling hills of Eshowe in one of their sets?

Have staff at the George Hotel been turning out extravagant eastern meals to cater to the whims of these stars?

Historian Hassim Seedat is the film's historical adviser and laughs at suggestions that the movie being shot in Eshowe is a Bollywood flick or that it contains any big-name stars.

"The movie looks at the often stormy relationship between Gandhi and his son, Harilall.

"The filmmakers have chosen Eshowe as a set because it has authentic territory reminiscent of when Gandhi was in South Africa."

Filmmakers are busy working on sets of the Gandhi settlement in Phoenix and another farm that Gandhi lived on in Johannesburg.

The film's director, Feroz Khan, also scoffed at rumours that his film was a major Bollywood movie.