Bollywood film shoots in Latvia

By Daira Abolina

    Agent Vinod, Latvia and India's first-ever joint-venture film, will begin shooting on August 26 on locations in Riga, including the city centre, the Old Town, and the city's outskirts. Bollywood film studio Illuminati Films and Latvia's Film Angels Studio(www.angels.lv ) will jointly film several episodes of the Indian spy thriller for a total of some 40 minutes of film time. The budget is 10 millions USD.

    The film, which began production in 2009, has already shot in several international locations: Moscow, Morocco, Paris, London and also India. The decision to film in Riga was taken rather suddenly. In July producer Dinesh Vijan arrived in Riga to confirm the information he had found about Riga online was accurate, and he discovered that the setting was ideal for his film. Casting is currently taking place in Riga, as one of the agent's girlfriends will be played by a Latvian actress. Latvians are also being cast for other character roles and for extras.

    The Latvian Minister of Economics, Atis Kampars, supports this project, stating, "In the last 10-15 years the Latvian film industry has unfortunately been in a downturn, and that's why it's very important to be once again connected to the world film industry."

    Agent Vinod will be fan spy thriller in the tradition of the James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Tom Clancy films. It will be directed by India's leading action filmmaker Sriram Raghavan (Ek Hasina Thi, Johnny Gaddaar) and stars Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor in the lead roles. The film will shoot both action and romantic scenes in touristy locations. The Hindi film will include local music, song and dance.

    The Latvian producer from Film Angels Studio Tomas Makaras has said that he is thrilled that several Asian film projects are shooting in Latvia. In the spring of 2010, in conjunction with Film Angels Studio, a Japanese film Clouds above the Slope for Japan Broadcasting Corporation was shot near Riga while a South Korean film is scheduled to shoot here in early 2011. Film Angels Studio also worked on the German film Das Blaue von Himmel in 2010.

    The Indian film will continue production in Latvia until September 22.