Boris Johnson Agrees Deal With Bollywood
The Mayor of London has announced during a trip to India that two Bollywood films are to be shot in London next year.
Speaking in Mumbai, Boris Johnson said the agreement was part of a bid to bring Bollywood to the British capital.
Earlier in his visit, he called on Indian filmmakers to make London their movie set of choice, offering tax breaks and co-operation on clearing streets, and speaking of "the huge audiences that Indian films have in London".
Producer Sajid Nadiadwala said he would film two movies, including the latest in the hugely successful Housefull series, in London.
The 2010 Indian comedy directed by Sajid Khan and starring Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Lara Dutta and Jiah Khan, was shot over several months in London and Italy. It won few plaudits from the reviewers but was a huge box office success.
Mr Nadiadwala's other movie to be filmed in London is Kick.
During his journey to Mumbai, Mr Johnson had to remain in economy class on his flight from Hyderabad after being squeezed out of business class by Bollywood megastar Kajol Devgn, who was occupying all the better seats with her entourage.
The Mayor has been keen not to be seen as profligate during his £20,000 trip to India after his predecessor Ken Livingstone splashed out £740,000 on a similar visit, and has been booked on economy or premium economy seats for every flight, but had always been bumped up a class on check-in.
However, this time that was not possible because there was no room.
Just to show there were no hard feelings, the mayor shared a joke with the Bollywood icon as the pair waited for the bus to take them to the airport terminal after landing in Mumbai.
But the flamboyant politician, who unlike his companion is little known by the Indian public, later admitted that he "didn't realise how wonderfully important Kajol was".
He said: "I was too embarrassed and I didn't want to introduce myself but then I met her on the bus on the way to the terminal and she was very nice."
He went on: "The key thing is that Kajol loves working in London and she does a huge number of movies in London. She is just one example of the way India and London can contribute to produce great movies."