Saif Referred As Brand The Golden Farah
Saif Referred As Brand The Golden Farah:
The ‘Agent Vinod’ Morocco shoot helped brand a new tourist attraction while the crew got terribly seasick
The upcoming action thriller ‘Agent Vinod’ starring Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor created quite a stir while shooting in Morocco. Apart from getting locals and tourists flocking about for hours to check out the shoots, they even managed to brand their shooting location. ‘The team of Agent Vinod shot for five days at a spot centrally located in the market place of Morocco referred to as ‘The Golden Farah’ in the film. The spot has become so popular that now tourists who plan to explore the place by taxis from anywhere in Tangier are sure to be driven to “The Golden Farah” which is how the place is now referred to by all,’ says a production source.
While the film’s contribution to Morocco tourism cannot be measured yet, the crew’s personal experience in their Moroccan adventure was, well, a bit more adventurous than they planned it to be. In fact, the very first day of their shoot happens to be a day they will remember for the fair part of their lives. Says a production source, “Oh, it was a nightmare. The first day’s shoot resulted in most of the cast and crew falling seasick except for Saif Ali Khan and the director Sriram Raghavan who were on their feet.”
Director Sriram and his team were fully prepared for a productive day on the first day of shooting and had previously completed an exhaustive survey of the location by boat and had even rehearsed the scenes several times over in the hotel room. “The shooting of the film began with an action sequence on a boat off the coast of Tangiers, a city in northern Morocco. The scene had Saif Ali Khan taking on a king-sized villain and his goons,” informs our source.
According to the director, they had not considered the precautions in shooting on a choppy sea. “I was on one boat with the actors and a crew of about 20. And there was a larger boat following us with the additional stock and reserves,” he reminisces. It was just a one-day shoot but after a couple of hours on the tempestuous sea, suddenly, one-by-one, the unit members started retching and retiring. “Preoccupied with the shoot,” Sriram recalls, “I didn’t realize that people were dropping out of our boat, into what had now become a sick boat, until I found myself with just the DOP (Director of Photography) and the cameraman, my first AD, Saif and the main villain, who was a stuntman accustomed to rough weather. With just work on our mind, we stayed on our feet on a rocking boat, but the rest of the team had become violently seasick. We had to go through a tough time, getting them all back in form.”
Luckily, despite the rather shaky beginning, the makers managed to can the shots that were required. However, they couldn’t succeed in getting some additional footage that could be used in the making later. Another major hurdle that the crew faced was while communicating with the locals who spoke only Arabic and French. English was a foreign language to them and many of their instructions to the local crew were lost in translation.
“Surprisingly though, the Moroccans are pretty clued in to Hindi cinema but they didn’t understand the language,” Sriram says. “One day, while I was sitting at a café, a local boy walked up to me and started singing a song from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1996). He got 90 per cent of the words right too.” In a scene set in a café, Sriram even got a local to sit with the junior artistes in the background and sing. “So you won’t just get to see Morocco but hear Morocco in my film too,” he smiles with a tinge of pride.