Last week I attended a concert at the Telstra Events Centre where 3000 people were present to see and hear Shreya Ghoshal, Bollywood’s leading playback singer.
She was amazing, with a voice like Lata Mangeshkar and a beauty like Aishwarya Rai. I had the pleasure of inaugurating the concert and welcoming her to our City.
This event made me realise the power of Bollywood.
Of course, Bollywood is one of the biggest players in the world film industry and has a huge following here.
I believe that Bollywood will play a critical part in Auckland becoming a real economic and international city.
As Mayor, I will promote Auckland as a film-friendly destination that offers a variety of top-class locations perfect for filming, and I will target Bollywood filmmakers.
I have learnt more about Bollywood in the past year as I have been campaigning and meeting our Indian and Fiji-Indian communities.
Recently I met with the members of a crew planning a big-budget Bollywood remake of The Italian Job in our Viaduct Basin. What a coup for our beautiful waterfront and city! I am really pushing to make this happen.
The $43 million budget film would present is an amazing opportunity for Auckland, provide jobs for local cast and crew and boost our economy, as millions of dollars will be spent by the production team here.
That is not to mention for many weeks A-List stars like Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Akshay Khanna may be working and socialising in Auckland.
Imagine Britomart and the Sky Tower being used as a backdrop for a car chase!
I am told this will be a blockbuster watched by millions of Bollywood fans around the world. This will be great for our tourism industry as I am sure those fans will want to visit our city.
I want to do much more for Bollywood and our Indian communities, who contribute so greatly to our city.
I will promote and lobby for Auckland to host the Bollywood Film Awards in the near future. We have some wonderful stadiums like the Vector Arena and the Telstra Clear Pacific Events Centre, where these world-class film awards could be held.
Hopefully, as Mayor I would have the opportunity to welcome to Auckland my favourite Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan and actress Katrina Kaif. Perhaps one day they might do a remake of the 3 Idiots here!
I am committed to bringing major international events and films to our city. With the drive and commitment of the Auckland Indian communities, we will help this region thrive and perform, as it should, with a strong economic base.
Auckland can – and I believe will be a place where blockbuster Bollywood films are not just enjoyed, but also actually made.
Then, we will be a truly super city.
John Banks is currently the Mayor of Auckland City and a candidate in the forthcoming Mayoral election for Auckland Super City. The above article is exclusive to Indian Newslink ©