The Austrian capital city is set to welcome a 73-member crew of filmmaker Karan Johar’s upcoming production “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma, hoping to emerge as the next big draw for Bollywood shoots.
“It looks like Dharma Productions is visiting us from Oct 14-25 with a 73-member crew. They’re in contact with our Embassy in New Delhi for visa formalities,” an official of the Vienna Tourist Board, which is also facilitating the logistics, said.
“The’ve already been to shooting locales with the Vienna Film Commission – it’s a complimentary service offered by the city to support national and global film and TV productions interested in shooting movies, documentaries, commercials and student films,” the official added.
Officials said Dharma Productions, Johar’s production house, also has plans to shoot in Tirol, a state in Western Austria with Innsbruck as capital. Asked if the tourism team knows about “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, an official said: “I think it is a triangular love-break-up story.”
The film is currently being shot in London.
Officials also said Austrian President Heinz Fischer himself loves Bollywood films and is keen on more Indian films being shot in his country.
From “The Third Man” to “Mission Impossible 5”, Vienna’s stock as a film location is on the rise and the officials here hope the Indian film industry will see merit on filming in its scenic and welcoming landscape.
One film with a South Asian touch shot here in 2012 was “The Indian” with debutant Jagdeep Bajwa playing the role of Ganesh, who gets kicked out of his girlfriend’s apartment. He plans to get back, but has brushes with gangsters, police and a secret agency.
The Viennese also take movie-making and screening seriously.
Since its first cinema opened in 1902, Vienna today has 26 multiplexes and independent halls with 26,000 seats. There are also a host of art house cinemas. The Viennale film festival screens some 300 movies and documentaries over 14 days, attracting 100,000 domestic and overseas visitors.
Among the best known films shot here has been the “Third Man”, based on a novel by the same name by Graham Greene, what with the Giant Ferris Wheel, as also the city’s subterranean sewer network featuring prominently. More recently was Tom Cruise-starrer “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”.
Such has been the fan-following of films shot here that Vienna today also has a Third Man Museum as a tribute to this landmark film with city also organising tours of key locations — including a trip down the sewers.
The 1987 James Bond thriller “The Living Daylights” with Timothy Dalton in lead, featured a kiss on the Giant Ferris Wheel, as also during a horse-carriage ride through the Schönbrunn Palace grounds — a sprawling complex that also houses one of Europe’s best zoological gardens.
Then in “A Dangerous Method” directed by David Cronenberg, Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) eat Austrian dessert Sachertorte with whipped cream at Café Sperl and go for a stroll through the grounds of the Belvedere palace.
Among the latest ventures has been “Woman in Gold” directed by Simon Curtis.
This mega-starrer, with Katie Hiolmes, Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds and Daniel Brühl, is about a Jewish art collector Maria Altmann who fights the Austrian government for nearly 10 years to get back Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt’s iconic painting of her aunt.
Thus far, some other Bollywood films, indeed, have been shot in Austria — such as “Kuch Tum Kaho Kuch Hum Kahein”, “Mast”, “Ab Ke Baras”, “Chal Mere Bhai”, “Albela”, “Kyaa Dil Ne Kahaa”, “Tera Jadoo Chal Gayaa” and “Yuvvraaj”.
The city now hopes “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” — set for Diwali release in October next year — becomes a hit so that Bollywood comes calling!