University of Leicester set to feature in Bollywood film releasing this week

Posted by er134 at Jun 06, 2013 09:49 AM |
Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 was filmed at University of Leicester campus

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 6 June 2013

A new Bollywood film shot extensively at the University of Leicester releases on Friday 7 June.

Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 features Bollywood film family Dharmendra, Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol. The movie was located at the University site last autumn and shot in the Library, Students’ Union, the Botanic Garden and Halls of Residence among other sites.

Two University staff members Dharminder Shoker, in Estates and Facilities Management, and Mike Simpson, from Corporate Affairs and Planning, feature in the film.

Dharminder had a speaking part in the film. He said: “The role of playing Mr Jindal, a bank manager, came as a total surprise and out of the blue. One moment I was doing my day job and managing the University's estates matters and the next I was asked to act in the film, handed 3 scenes and a dozen or so lines to remember. Both the story writer Jasvinder Singh Bath and the Director, Sangeeth Sivan, gave me their personal reassurances that they felt I was perfect for the role. With that boost of confidence behind me, coupled with knowing that my scenes were going to be with Sunny Deol and to be shot on the very first day of filming, the opportunity was too good to turn down.

“The day of the shoot came, which started around 6am. Being in front of the camera, having watched the entire set-up, I found myself to be surprisingly comfortable only with a very slight nervous feel. What made it so easy was that the entire cast and crew were working as a big family, and Sunny chose to stay on set throughout the filming, even when he was out of shot, so that he could read his lines and make our conversation feel as real as possible when the camera was on me.

“A brilliant, once in a lifetime experience and certainly one that the grandchildren will hear about in the years to come.”

Mike too found the experience one to remember:

He said: “Working at a leading university offers plenty of opportunities to get involved with fascinating projects and schemes across a broad range of topics. One of the more improbable opportunities has been the chance to appear in a Bollywood film.”

Mike, who is Senior Web Communications Officer in our Marketing Communications Office, has a taste for Bollywood, born of his extensive experience as a film writer (for example, his online review of Ashwarya Rai-starring 2010 sci-fi epic Endhiran/Robot was widely disseminated among that movie’s fans). So when a call for extras went out, Mike jumped at the chance, taking along his eight-year-old son Thomas (whose first exposure to Bollywood was the 2011, London-shot superhero blockbuster Ra-One).

Mike and Thomas initially travelled down to Stanford Hall near Lutterworth for a wedding scene, expecting to be asked to sit, stand or walk around in the background. To their surprise, this turned out to be a big dance number and they found themselves part of the ensemble performing behind Sunny and Bobby.

“It was bursts of action interwoven with periods of tedium – like every other film,” says Mike, who has visited film sets at numerous British and European studios. “The overall atmosphere was one of great fun. Sunny, Bobby and the two female leads had a choreographed routine, backed by about 20 professional dancers, and the rest of us were told to basically just wave our hands in the air. But as far as I’m concerned, that counts as Bollywood dancing! You can just see me in one shot in the trailer.”

A few weeks later, Mike and Thomas rejoined the production for a sequence filmed in Queen’s Hall within the University’s Students’ Union. This was an art auction with Mike among the audience.

Ather Mirza, spokesperson for the University of Leicester, said: “This is the third Bollywood film to be shot at the University – the Deols became familiar faces on campus and it was a treat for our new and returning students to have stars of such calibre on our premises.”

The film is produced by YPD Films Ltd (UK) and Sunny Sounds Pvt Ltd. (Sister Concern of Vijayta Films Pvt. Ltd.)

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