South Africa doubles for Melbourne

Creep shot some scenes on the Yarra Footbridge last SaturdayThe film Crook: It’s Good to Be Bad, which deals with the Indian student controversy in Melbourne, has been partially shot in Cape Town, with the South African city doubling for the Victorian capital.

“We have a limited budget and the South African rand is cheaper; we felt that Cape Town had the kind of architectural look which could match that of Melbourne,” producer Mahesh Bhatt told Encore.

Bhatt revealed that the production – which is currently in Melbourne doing establishing shots to complement the South African and Indian shoot – did not receive any incentives from South Africa.

He added that, while in the country, he would like to meet the relevant film industry figures to discuss future opportunities to shoot in Australia.

“After having shot in more than 20 countries, I had not yet had an opportunity to work in Australia, and as a filmmaker, I can do a lot of exciting things here. I was very happy how the authorities here speeded up the visa procedure for our crew.

“To be very honest, I did not look a [Australian incentives] but after my line producer explained them to me, this is just the beginning. I’m looking forward to do a lot of work in Australia,” said Bhatt.

However, Bhatt feels that Australia is not as flexible as other filmmaking destinations around the world.

“I don’t think it’s well promoted in India. I don’t feel that they are doing as much as the UK government in terms of grants and facilities. Even in terms of shooting, they’re more flexible in Europe than here.

“There’s too much rigidity; I don’t want to be a nuisance to the pedestrian, but the laws here are more stringent, which limits the freedom of the filmmaker. I felt much freer in South Africa and Hong Kong,” said Bhatt.

The 12-day shoot follows recent Indian news report that claimed the Australian element of the production had been delayed because the government “had not approved the script”.

“Which is laughable, because there’s no such thing as script approval in Australia,” said line producer and Films & Casting Temple director Anupam Sharma.

Creep is directed by Mohit Suri, and its creators describe it as a love story featuring “a self-absorbed young Indian man (Emraan Hashmi)”, that deals with the Indian student attacks in Melbourne. It’s scheduled for release in India on September 24.

“We have touched it in a very positive way, and an Indian goes and saves an Australian student and vice versa,” explained Bhatt.


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