Bradford, Doncaster and Rotherham are providing the backdrop for a major Bollywood film starring one of India’s biggest names – just one of the foreign makes contributing to Britain’s film-making boom.
Anyone who happened to peer through the railings of Doncaster Racecourse last week would have been met with a surreal sight.
India’s 1936 Olympic hockey team were greeted by a encouraging mob as they climbed off a vintage tutor, before Nazi police viciously beat a couple of their overenthusiastic fans.
Behind them, monstrous swastika placards were covered from the racecourse’s historic Clock Tower Stand.
But this was just a film set, and Doncaster Racecourse was doubling as Berlin’s 1936 Olympic Stadium. It will appear in Gold, an epic brand-new Bollywood movie that tells the story of India’s Olympic hockey players in 1936 and 1948.
One of the actors in Doncaster was Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar, who is above the likes of Tom Hanks, Ryan Gosling and Ryan Reynolds on Forbes magazine’s latest roll of the world’s best-paid actors.
“I rank him in the top five performers in Bollywood, ” says Suhail Al Belushi, from Leeds, who is one of more than 5,000 local extras in the film.
Mr Al Belushi has taken time out of his date responsibility as a freelance translator to appear in the film after construing Akshay Kumar walk into a inn in Leeds.
“When I verified him I was shocked, ” he says. “I felt maybe there’s a person who looks like him. If it was India there would be crowds everywhere, pestering him, following him, missing photos.”
Among the other locations being used, Bradford’s Midland Hotel, Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel and Leicester’s Grand Hotel are all standing in for different parts of the Bombay Club in colonial Mumbai.
Rotherham FC’s old Millmoor stadium redoubles as an Indian hockey slope. Dalton Mill in Keighley is a German horde camp. The dwellings of Bradford Bulls, Leeds Rhinos and York City FC have all had a disperse of Bollywood stardust.
“I came here because I liked the locations, ” director Reema Kagti says.
“For this film, because it’s a stage movie, I needed building that’s been maintained. Architecture which existed prior to the ‘3 0s and has been maintained till appointment, and Yorkshire seems to have a lot of that. They really seem to respect their heritage and were looking for it.”
The UK has become the destination of select for many world film-makers, with ability from both Hollywood and Bollywood realizing it their dwelling from home.
Movie production in the UK has grown 72% since 2014, the Office for National Statistics has reported.
Last year, PS1. 3bn was spent by foreign film-makers in Britain, according to the British Film Institute( BFI) – doubled the figure in 2012.
Most of that came from Hollywood blockbusters like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Transformers: The Last Knight and The Mummy.
But there’s a development trend for Bollywood films to be shot in the UK too.