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THE city of Durban has marked a major milestone in the Indian film industry with it currently hosting South Africa’s first ever Punjabi film production.
Zorawar is directed by Vinnil Markan and produced by Rajiee M Shinde and Rabindra Narayan of India’s White Umbrella Movies. The film’s South African line production for local filming is produced by Epic Entertainment, a Durban based Production Company.
The film’s star-studded Indian cast includes award-winning Indian rapper Yo Yo Honey; India MTV’s VJ, Gurbani Judge; Indian Television Academy Award winning actress Achint Kaur and acclaimed veteran actors Pawan Malhotra, Mukul Dev and Amit Behl.
Official press visits on set are set take place throughout today at different locations around Durban.
In a pre-interview with Tonight Epic Entertainment’s Rakesh Maharaj – whose company has been responsible for at least 10 Bollywood films and commercials in the city – said Durban has much to offer filmmakers.
“I feel Durban and KZN are not exploited enough by international filmmakers. When you talk South Africa they always seem to opt more for Cape Town. I’m trying to get more of them to look at Durban. I believe Durban and the province is just as beautiful. It also provides a totally different scene compared to what Cape Town and Joburg can offer,” he explained.
Maharaj said Zorawar story was also unique in that it incorporated Durban. “Durban is part of the story… It follows an army officer who goes in search of his dad who had left India and settled in Durban. So Durban is very much part of the story.
“In terms of the locations, what we tried to do, is capture some of the highlights of the city… like Moses Mabhida, Whilson’s Wharf… we are trying to capture the beauty of the city. The only flashback scene we do was shot at Howard College (UKZN),” he said.
With a local budget of R3 million for Zorawar the film will result in a number of positive spin offs for Durban. “We are shooting in 20 different locations. This means opportunities for local crew, employing local extras, equipment is hired locally, hospitability and transport bookings are all local, which is contributing to general economy of the city,” Maharaj added.
In a statement, Durban Film Office Head, Toni Monty, concurred with Maharaj that the filming of Zorawar in Durban demonstrates that the uniqueness the city has to offer in terms of iconic key attractions. “We hope to see many more Punjabi films shot in Durban,” she said. - Tonight Reporter