It was back in August 2014 that the Bradford Film Office got a call from a contact in London asking if we could source a number of locations for a Bollywood comedy drama. The film team had worked with the production company the previous year on a Hindi horror movie which saw the streets of Little Germany double as London in 1920. This new request was very different as the film were looking for locations to double for Karachi in Pakistan.
The film team promptly responded sent photographs and even a short film hurriedly put together on an action cam of sort after locations including street scenes, markets, mosques and official looking buildings to Mumbai. Following receipt of the suggested locations, the films producer, Vashu Bhagnani arranged to spend a day in Bradford. He was planning to fly to London to look at locations in the capital and in Birmingham.
Vashu came to Bradford two weeks later and following an introduction at the Bradford Film Office we then spent the day driving round numerous locations, stopping briefly to sample the culinary delights of Mumtaz restaurant. Vashu and his driver were impressed by Bradford’s curry credentials.
The film ‘Welcome to Karachi’ – is about two Indian friends, played by Arshad Warsi and Jackky Bhagnani, who plan to go to the United States. In a bid to avoid all the hassle of visas etc, they try reach America via boat. Things go badly wrong when a storm breaks on the ocean and they end up in Karachi with no passports, money or official papers.
Things take a humorous turn for the worse when both Warsi and Bhagnani undergo interrogations from terrorist outfits in Pakistan as well as, what appears to be, the CIA.
Bradford locations include the streets of Little Germany, Bombay Stores and City Hall as well as a good number of scenes shot in Drummonds Mill where the cast and crew spend a whole week. Zulfi Karim and the World Curry Festival who’s HQ is also at Drummonds Mill were a great help. Zulfi said; ‘it was a great experience having the production at the mill. They were a pretty self sufficient bunch and worked very long hours. We’d like to see more film and TV productions take advantage of the massive space available at Drummonds Mill.’
The team were also looking for a location to double for the mountains in Afghanistan and we were able to recommend a number of quarry sites in North Yorkshire and some of the regions famous peaks. I’m pleased to say that these locations also feature in the film.
A number of local people were recruited as extras for some of the crowd scenes (get quote from seen on screen)
Welcome to Karachi will be released in India on 21 May 2015. Bradford City of Film are currently discussing the possibility of a UK premiere and What better place than the world’s first UNESCO City of Film.