Film-makers turn their focus to Oman

Oman is, in one sentence, beyond any imagination. When I was invited by the producers based in Oman, I didn’t expect to be smitten by this land this much. That’s the truth and you will see the same on celluloid in November this year  

Harleen Singh
– Director

Kabeer Yousuf –

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Once again, the fjords and valleys of Oman will echo the voice of a film director shouting ‘start’ and ‘action’ as more and more Bollywood movies are set in the backdrop of the country that boasts of the best natural backdrop.
Over the past decade, many a dozen movies have been shot by ace directors who always looked for a ‘different’ frame for their dream projects.
Oman, with its immense natural setting and unique features that robbed film-makers’ hearts, has become a hot destination for many storytellers.
The latest in the series, story of a young, ambitious young cricketer who finds his future here with the game that is close to his heart will be shot almost completely in the Sultanate.
Inspired from the success of the movies shot amid the rugged mountains including the Bollywood runaway success, Akshay Kumar-starrer Once Upon a Time in Mumbai-Dubaraa’, director Harleen Singh has decided to turn his focus to Oman.
The crew of the Hindi-Arabic sports-themed movie produced under ‘Hit Productions’ banner and titled Papa Kehte Hain Bada Naam Karega, including the Oman-based Delicious Sahadevan, R Chhikara and Dr Deepak Sharma are identifying the locations that suit storyline of the full-length feature film. “Oman is, in one sentence, beyond any imagination”, said Harleen Singh, the director of the movie.
“When I was invited by the producers based in Oman, I didn’t expect to be smitten by this land this much. That’s the truth and you will see the same on celluloid in November this year,” Singh sounded excited and speechless.
Oman’s list of movies ranges from the Twilight fame actress Kristen Stewart’s film Personal Shopper that gave Oman the opportunity to mark its presence felt in the list of global film locations. The film was shot in Muscat, Nizwa, Bahla and across Paris, London and the cities of the Czech Republic and directed by Olivier Assayas.
“However”, Harleen Singh says, “The pre-production process and making of the film will start only after we get the required permission to shoot in Oman”.
“We are constantly following up with the Ministry of Tourism and the relevant ministries and authorities in the country as Papa Kehtein hein will be the first complete movie shot in Oman ever,” the producers added. “While the audiences have been impressed with exotic locales, government authorities in Oman have been open to promoting the Sultanate as a destination for film shoots. We want to showcase the natural appeal of the county through our film. We hope through our film audiences across the world experience Oman’s stunning deserts, virgin beaches, clear blue seas, wadis and green-capped mountains,” said the team members.
Oman is becoming an increasingly sought-after destination for international movies. At a time when the country is sparing no stones unturned in redefining the national income sources, and as tourism is receiving a major fillip with destination weddings and the like, Oman holds a great potential as a hot location for movies. When a film is shot in Oman and as more than 100-strong cast and crew flies in, straight from the cabbies at the airport to the retail, tourism destinations, immigration, hotels, and restaurants benefit and millions across the world get to see Oman.
At least three south Indian movies were made in the backdrop of the Sultanate in the recent past. They were shot in Muttrah, Nizwa, Ibri and some other locations in Oman while some of the local actors including late Salim Bahwan acted in Indian stars. Thalaiva, starring Vijay and Amala Paul, was shot with the help of a 74-member film crew from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The movie was shot over 36 days at various locations in the Sultanate.
Two songs and a fight scene added further charm to the locations, according to the people behind the film. More than 20 local artists were chosen to be a part of the cast and crew.
Vikram’s popular song Excuse Me Mr Kanthaswami was filmed at Al Sawadi, Suhar beach, Qantab, Yacht Club and Oman Dive Centre. En Idhayam from Surya’s Tamil film Singam was shot at Qantab beach near Muscat and the old capital of Nizwa. Aditya Chopra’s Priyanka-Ranveer starrer Gunday too was shot in the Sultanate.
There will be more surprise elements to the movie as Haitham Mohammed Rafi, Oman’s sensational singer who won the best singer award in India will be composing the songs for the movie while chances of him appearing on the screen cannot be ruled out, according to the crew of the movie.