Dorrigo?s breathtaking scenery and open skies were the perfect background to some of the scenes for the new Bollywood movie Und
Dorrigo?s breathtaking scenery and open skies were the perfect background to some of the scenes for the new Bollywood movie Und

Bolly Lolly folly

By MEL MARTIN

RUTH and Rod Holmes' cows were a tad bewildered when the crew of Bollywood movie Khule Asman Ke Neche (Under The Open Sky) turned up in their paddock complete with brilliantly coloured costumes, catchy songs and glamorous dancing.

"All the cows were looking over the fence to see the actors dancing and waving with their chiffon blowing in the wind," Mrs Holmes said.

"The funniest thing was some chap doing the ironing for the leading actors, with his little ironing board out in the middle of the paddock and the cows watching him."

But while the bovine spectators remained perplexed throughout the four days of filming on the Holmes' 280-hectare Dorrigo property, Mrs Holmes, for her part had the time of her life.

"It was such a pleasure having them, they were all so lovely," she said.

"We're in the local drama club, and it was great to see how they work, how they get the actors to mime to the music and how they did their dance routines.

"It was wonderful to see Indians, Pakistanis and Australians all working together in co-operation."

While Mrs Holmes spent much of her time driving people around to wherever they had to go on the property ? mostly toilet runs ? she made sure the crew got a taste of Australia.

"I made them a huge batch of Anzac biscuits," she said.

And it seems the crew certainly appreciated the Holmes' hospitality, praising their efforts in a visitors book kept at the property.

'Thanks so much, you were so good to us. We never felt like strangers,'one wrote.

'Thanks so much for looking after us like parents, I hope I find people like you everywhere I go,' was another comment.

Before filming in the beautiful Dorrigo hills, the crew spent time shooting on Sapphire Beach, Mylestom Beach, Port Macquarie and Sydney.

"It was a really exciting experience and, of course, it's great to show international visitors our part of the Mid North Coast," Mrs Holmes said.

"We've got a beaut location for movies here, and this will help promote the area."

And that's exactly why the manager of Film Mid North Coast Armidale, Christina Hyde, has been working so hard to get movie productions to come to our part of the world.

"It's fantastic for tourism," Ms Hyde said.

"The movie has an international release so this area will be shown around the world. There is the potential for 250 million people to see this film.

"It's a great opportunity to showcase the region, and expose it to the rest of the world, because this region will be recognised, it's not pretending to be somewhere else."

Ms Hyde, who has pitched on 50 films in the last year, said there were other, more immediate, benefits for the region.

"They're spending money here, and they're hiring local people. So it's good for the economy," she said.

Under The Open Sky is a Bollywood and Lollywood (Lahore ? Pakistani film industry) joint film production, produced by Jawed Sheikh, a well-known Bollywood and Pakistani actor and director.

It is a love story between an Indian girl and Pakistani boy who fall in love in Australia against all odds.

Film Mid North Coast Armidale has been working with Australian liaison company Filmology whose director Paresh Lulla and production manager Krish Amarnath say the locations couldn't have suited the script better.

"We wanted something with beautiful scenery on the bottom and clear blue sky above, and the Mid North Coast was perfect," Mr Amarnath said.

Under The Open Sky will be released in Australia in November, with a special screening on the Mid North Coast.

And as far as the Anzac biscuits go . . . Mrs Holmes was just pleased her recipe makes 60 pieces!



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