Bollywood flick filming here

Posted: October 09, 2008

If you're walking in Center City this weekend, near 16th and Market streets, don't mind the FBI helicopters overhead or the sounds of gunfire.

"Don't be concerned, it's just a movie," said Sharon Pinkenson, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office.

And it's not just any Hollywood movie. The feature is a Bollywood production - straight from Mumbai, India. It marks the first time a major Bollywood film production has shot on the streets of Philly.

Thus, the men shooting blanks are not "SWAT agents" and the helicopters will be made over to appear as FBI aircraft.

The movie, with the working title of "New York," is expected to shoot Saturday at the PNC Bank Building from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. And yes, with a working title of "New York," Philadelphia once again doubles for the Big Apple.

Pinkenson declined to reveal the movie's plot, saying only that it was a thriller.

She cites a competitive nature among Bollywood studios that prevent her from talking about the movie.

Saturday's shoot involves "SWAT agents," played by stuntmen, who shoot blanks in the vicinity of the building's roof, she said.

The building's signs were changed last month to read "Federal Bureau of Investigation."

The flick stars John Abraham, Katrina Kaif and Neil Nitin Mukesh, all marquee names in India and throughout the Bollywood sphere.

No streets will be blocked off during filming, which began in August and is expected to end during the first week of November, Pinkenson said. All the action will be in the airspace over the building.

Pinkenson, who met with several Bollywood producers while visiting Mumbai last year, said this Bollywood production won't be Philadelphia's last.

Next month, another Mumbai-based production begins shooting here. (Pinkenson declined to reveal details of that film as well.)

"The producers of this film and the producers of the next film said, 'Get ready - you are going to be getting a lot of attention from other Bollywood filmmakers,' " she said.

"After the first one comes, [other Bollywood productions] tend to follow," Pinkenson said. One Mumbai production shot a portion of a film here one time, but it was not based here.

"New York" is the city's 10th major-movie production, not counting smaller film shoots, Pinkenson said. *

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