Bollywood eyes Kiwiland as Key charms stars

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who met the cast and crew of upcoming film Players, a part of which was shot in his country, said he wants more Bollywood filmmakers to capture the island nation on their lens.

He visited the Bollywood set of Abbas-Mustan directed Players at the Film City in Mumbai on June 28 to watch a scene from the film, which was already canned in New Zealand but was reshot to commemorate his visit.

He also met actors Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu and director duo Abbas-Mustan at the sets in Film City.

New Zealand has opened its doors for Bollywood to shoot Hindi films in the country as a part of its efforts to boost tourism.

“We have signed an agreement with the Indian Government that will lead to more Bollywood films being shot in New Zealand. In the last ten years, approximately 150 films were made in New Zealand. We want filmmakers to make many more. It is a great place to shoot,” Mr Key said.

Players also stars Bobby Deol, Sonam Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Omi Vaidya and Sikander Kher. Shot in India, New Zealand and Russia, the action-thriller is due for release on December 23, 2011.

“It is a great movie. It is the most anticipated film,” Mr Key said.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler said, “Our tourism appeal on the big screen has played a strategic role in attracting Indian visitors to New Zealand,” he said.

Players, a remake of the 2003 American film, The Italian Job, is about a team of thieves who plan to steal gold bullion from a former associate who double- crossed them.

“From the little that I have seen of Players at the time of filming in New Zealand, the movie looks fantastic. I am sure more Indian visitors will come to New Zealand following the release of the film,” Mr Bowler said.

Abhishek said he and Bipasha had shot several films in New Zealand.

“The local film crew there is very helpful; they are well equipped to make films. New Zealand is a very film-friendly country,” he said.

Bipasha said the crew had ‘lots of fun’ in New Zealand.

“The whole experience was good.”

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