Shankar’s 3 Idiots remake shot in Netherlands

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3 Idiots was one of the biggest blockbusters of 2009. And while Bollywood is currently busy remaking a lot of South Indian films, it is director Shankar who is remaking this blockbuster film.

The remake of 3 Idiots is called Nanban and has the biggest stars of South Cinema, actors Jeeva, Srikanth and Vijay, in the main lead. The film has been shot in India, but the director took a trip to the Netherlands to shoot portions of a song. Bollyspice was present at one of the shoots.

One of the main songs is being shot in the Netherlands. The country is known for its flower park Keukenhof, where songs like Dekha Ek Khwaab from Silsila and Bhanwre Ne Khilaya Phool from Prem Rog were shot.

Peter Everts, head of the production company Amsterdam Production Unit, has done the production for Nanban. “Last year we were approached by the company through our location scouting company. We told them we also do film production and they decided to hire us to handle the production here as well. It was easy for them to keep all the activities with one company.”

Peter has a huge passion for production. It doesn’t matter to him whether he is doing a the production of a movie or an event, he does his job with a lot of love. He also adds he loves challenges and that is exactly what he got when he decided to take up this project.

Production for an Indian film appeared to be not as easy as for a Dutch or American film. “The way they work and plan is very different from the way we work. With an American film or a Dutch production we plan ahead and pinpoint every location where we want to shoot. They did have a few locations in mind though, but when they saw a nice place, they would want to shoot there. But you cannot just shoot somewhere. We have to arrange for permits, which can take a while.”

This is one of the things which actor Shah Rukh Khan pointed out at FICCI Frames this year: Indian Production values need to change. Peter also noticed this.

“I would love to do more Indian films”

But while working with this wonderful crew, Peter noticed a change in the way they started to plan. “Once they saw things were moving forward more easily as everything was planned in advance, they too started planning accordingly. How we planned and arranged things was a new thing for them. For example: We sat together to plan the shoot or the next day in details. They really appreciated the way we presented them with a plan. They always cooperated with us, we exchanged ideas, it was a joy to work with them. Their ad-hoc attitude kept us on our toes and made it exciting to produce, because sometimes you just don’t know what will happen the next day.”

Peter had so much fun, he adds he would love to do more Indian movies. “Holland has a lot to offer in terms of architectural buildings, beautiful mills and of course flower parks. This was a great experience and I would love to do more Indian movies.”

Meeting the Dutch dancers

After a nice talk with Peter and a walk around the film set, I ran into a few Dutch dancers who were waiting for their turn to perform. It was a the first time they were working for an Indian film. They were really excited about it and didn’t know what to expect. “I just got a call if I wanted to dance in an Indian film and I said yes”, said one of them.

The most surprising thing to them was that they came on set totally blank. “Usually we practice the steps a few days in advance and on the days of the shoot, all we need to do is perform. Here it was the other way around. We came on the set totally blank and learned the steps on set,” said one of the girls.

Then a guy asks me: “Do you know how they teach us the steps?” I said I didn’t and he looks at me and says: “5 minutes in advance. Three different people teach us the steps: the main choreographer and two assistants. And after we have practiced the steps they shoot for like 5 seconds. The actors also learn the steps on the set. It’s quite a funny experience, but I love it.”

One thing all of them noticed is how everyone is really committed to their work and the amount of respect the directors and actors receive. “If the director or the actor says something then light men, DOP, assistant-directors, choreographer, even the stylists pull out all stops to make sure their wish is fulfilled. And they do it fast. I have never seen anybody work so hard in my life. It’s inspirational.”

I guess they weren’t aware about the fact that directors and especially stars are treated like Gods in India.

I had a wonderful time on the set, talking to a lot of people and sharing their experience.

Keep watching this space for more about the remake of 3 Idiots!

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