Cape Town Goes Bollywood

May 21, 2015 11:59 am

Jaaved Jaaferi Ishq Forever

Getting photobombed my Jaaved Jaaferi on my first time on a Bollywood set — not bad.

Bollywood is no stranger to Cape Town — plenty of movies like Aashiqui 2, health Welcome, gonorrhea Cocktail, and Andaaz took advantage of the Mother City’s mountains, oceans, and otherworldly sunsets. But more often than not, Indian producers like to exploit the city’s stunning natural backdrops as settings for dream song sequences or, insanely enough, as stand-ins for other random destinations. Camps Bay, a suburb of Mumbai? Only in Bollywood, yaar!

While Jan van Riebeek “discovered” Cape Town in the 1600’s (so what if there were already plenty of people living here, right?), producer Shabbir Boxwala (Gupt, Mohra, Mission Istanbul) was a no less a pioneer himself — he captured the city peacefully, with cameras, for 2003’s Dil Ka Rishta, one of the first Indian movies ever shot here. And now he’s back: you might have seen his unit popping up all over our city this month filming his latest offering, Ishq Forever.

Directed by Sameer Sippy, the love story/thriller stars two (seriously hot) newbies, Ruhi Singh and Krishna Chaturvedi, alongside two beloved Bollywood veterans — the gorgeous Lisa Ray and the hilarious Jaaved Jaaferi. I’ve loved both of them for years. Lisa was a top model back when I was living in India in the 90s, and I followed her career from fashion to film. Then of course came her devastating cancer diagnosis, and her amazing recovery, all of which she documented for her fans with openness and grace. Seriously inspirational. And Jaaved, of course, has been a fixture in Bollywood since the 1980s — one of my favorite childhood memories revolves around my (mis)understanding of one of his films, Jawaani Zindabad. In it, he’s married to a girl whose family hasn’t yet paid dowry, and so his conniving parents vow to keep them separated at all times. They have a fun song sequence where they sneak around and meet, and soon enough the wife gets nauseous and the evil saas realizes she must be pregnant. Not realizing how these things worked (I was only nine, OK?), I distinctly remember being confused — how did she figure out that they’d been meeting on the sly? What does her being pregnant have to do with anything? (Yeah, I was pretty naive.)

In between crazy Dubsmash sessions like the one from Lisa’s Instagram above, these guys have been working hard, filming all over the Mother City for the past month. For a pleasant change, Ishq Forever is actually SET in Cape Town, and it plays a major role. That means they’re showcasing the city in all its glory, and for once Cape Town is actually getting the credit. And it sounds like they’ve done a great job of digging up awesome locales, from car chases on the city streets to road trips to Hermanus to nightlife scenes at the Orphanage and Shimmy Beach Club. Lisa was kind enough to let me crash on a particularly fun day of shooting — a ziplining adventure through the picturesque Silvermist Vineyards (which, unbeknownst to me before now, happens to be home to Africa’s longest zipline course).      

Lights, camera, action! #Bollywood #IshqForever #ziplining @lisaraniray @ruhisingh12 @krish9a @jaavedjaaferi

A video posted by Sarah Khan (@bysarahkhan) on

This close-knit crew is clearly having a blast. In all fairness, can spending your days ziplining above the world’s most beautiful city, while listening to Jaaved crack one hilarious pun after another, really qualify as work?

I’m really excited to see how the Ishq Forever team shows Cape Town off when the movie comes out in December. Much love to Lisa Ray for inviting me along to get my first-ever taste of masala movie magic!

lisa ray ishq forever

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