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Bheja Fry 2

Bintan Goes to Bollywood!

In the soon-to-be-released Bheja Fry 2, the sequel to the hugely successful 2007 comedy Bheja Fry, the Bollywood movie will bring to the big screen, for the first time, the rarely seen natural beauty of Bintan Island, Indonesia. Much of the movie was filmed in Lagoi Bay, a secluded, pristine areas of Bintan Resorts, a popular tourist destination just a 45-minute ferry ride from Singapore. Locations at Nirwana Garden Resort and Laguna Bintan Golf Club also made it onto the celluloid.

When news got out that the production crew of Bheja Fry 2 was conducting a regional search to find a ‘deserted island’ (read: wilderness, pristine beaches and coconut groves with easy access to a hotel and other logistical support facilities), and someone had suggested that the location scouts check out Bintan, the team at Bintan Resorts International was excited and jumped into action! This was about the possibility of bringing Bintan Resorts to BOLLYWOOD! WOW!

A series of earnest discussions on the requirements and logistic challenges ensued, and after a couple of recce trips to Bintan, plus more discussions in Mumbai, the decision to film in Bintan Resorts was finally made back in April 2010. It was almost a logistical nightmare trying to coordinate between several service providers and vendors, figuring out how to get tonnes of film equipment transported to the island, sourcing local suppliers for generators, casual labour, a fleet of vehicles, etcetera, etcetera.

With a production crew of 70 people, much of the movie was filmed just over 23 days in Bintan, in August 2010, out of which, about seven nights were overnight filming in the jungles and beaches. As the main movie site was in a yet-to-be-developed part of Bintan Resorts, dirt tracks had to be cleared in the jungle for vehicular access and the setting-up of base camps. Several portable toilets had to be brought, make-shift shower stall constructed, wardrobe tents, dining tents and artist rest tents had to be erected and moved to various locations – sometimes virtually overnight!. When the production crew decided that they needed an old and rustic little house by the beach, a scouting team scoured the local villages in Bintan countryside to find just the right one. When they eventually found an old dilapidated house that they liked, they convinced the owner to sell them the entire house. It was then dismantled piece by piece, moved to a location tens of kilometres away and reassembled on the beachfront filming site. This is where the brilliant artistry of Bollywood took over transforming the house into the home of an eccentric recluse. Furniture, old bottles, antique cameras, old music records, a shotgun, a cathode-ray TV converted into a fish-tank and other gizmos and gadgets bought in from the ‘thieves market’ of Mumbai made-up the props used on this set.

Not all the actor talent including Vinay Pathak, K.K. Menon, Amole Gupte and Suresh Menon came from Bollywood; the movie also features a true-blue Bintan talent – a long-tail macaque (monkey) expertly trained to run away with the lead actor’s undergarment and to throw coconuts on cue.   

Catch Bheja Fry 2 on the big screen when it is released in cinemas on 17 June 2011.

Starring: Vinay Pathak, K. K. Menon, Minisha Lamba, Amol Gupte, Suresh Menon
Directed by: Sagar Ballary
Produced by: Mukul Deora

Plot outline: Good hearted but not worldly-wise, the roly-poly tax inspector, Bharat Bhushan (Vinay Pathak) is back to fulfill his long cherished dream of becoming a singer. To further his ambition he enters a game show hoping to win a cash prize with which he can make his own music album. Eventually Bhushan goes on to win the competition which also gifts him a free stay on a cruise ship. It is on this cruise that he meets Ajit Talwar (Kay Kay Menon), an acrid tongued sadistic business tycoon, who is taking sheath on the cruise to flee from the Income Tax department.

On the ship, after a string of oddball occurrences owing to a mistaken identity, Ajit Talwar and Bharat Bhushan wind up stranded on a deserted island. It is on the island that Ajit realizes what a pain Bharat Bhushan is. His stupidity drives Ajit up the wall. The story gets only interesting from here as they try finding their way out of the island. With Bharat Bhushan finding the way to his dream and Ajit Talwar trying to find refuge from Bharat Bhushan and Income Tax, some more characters add to the complexity and spice of the brawl.


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