Spectacular Indian Production in Poland

14 June 2017

Four Polish cities, several dozen dancers, the greatest stars of South Indian cinema, spectacular stunts, and over 3,000 extras. "Vijay 61", an Indian action film, was partly shot in Poland.

"Vijay 61" (working title) is a thriller, which was partly filmed in May, in Poland. The director and screenwriter Arun Kumar, known as Atlee, is a very popular Indian director of the young generation; his debut Raja Rani received multiple awards. The cinematographer working on "Vijay 61" is Vishnu, and the film producer is Sri Thenandal Films. The protagonist is portrayed by Joseph Vijay Chandrasekhar – a Tamil film star, while the music was composed by Allah Rakha Rahman, who in 2009 received two Oscars for "Slumdog Millionaire".

A part of the picture was filmed in Poland, which stood in for… Paris. Poland hosted a crew with 50 members, which was supported by a local team of 80. Muchas Gracias production house was responsible for the production.

‘In terms of the budget and crew, this has been the biggest Indian film produced in Poland,’ says producer Marcin Andruchów. ‘We were responsible for, among others, location scouting and preparation, organizing the shooting, recruiting the extras, and preparing the set design, the props and the equipment.’ 

After the five-day preparatory period, the 18-day shooting started. The filming took place in four cities: Gdańsk, Sopot, Poznań and Rzeszów. The smooth course of such a big project in each of these places was possible thanks to the help of local authorities and Poznan Film Commission, all of whom supported the film crew in acquiring filming permits.

The operation of the Gdańsk airport was partly suspended for the filming. A conference attended by about 700 extras of different ethnicities was arranged and filmed at the G2A Arena in Rzeszów. In the film, we will be also able to see streets of Sopot, the Main Square of Old Town and Zamek Culture Centre in Poznań, or the Long Market in Gdańsk. Additionally, elaborate choreographic routines employing 40 dancers and action scenes with Bulgarian stuntmen known from, among others, "Mission Impossible", "Game of Thrones", "World War Z", "The Expendables" or "Troy" were filmed in Poland. Polish company Head 2 Head, previously working on such Polish films as "Gods", "Hardkor Disko" and "11 Minutes" (an Oscar nominee), was responsible for organising the convoy, which included over a dozen vehicles, and coordinating scenes with a passenger jet.

‘Poland is more and more often chosen by foreign filmmakers. Apart from the prices, which are significantly lower than in the West, local authorities are very open to this kind of collaboration. Acquiring permits for filming in places with limited access, such as airports, train stations or bridges, does not pose a problem. The shooting of "Vijay 61", requiring among others closing off a part of the Gdańsk airport, could begin right after the recce was completed,’ describes the process Marcin Andruchów from Muchas Gracias. ‘Polish crews are experienced in working for foreign productions; they are fluent in English and work efficiently, which reflects the long film tradition of Poland,’ adds Andruchów.

This was not the first Muchas Gracias production for Indian filmmakers. Last year, the Warsaw production house was responsible for the line production of "24", commissioned by Images and Worlds and Green Studios. The film, partially shot in Poland, was viewed by more than 70 million people.

"Vijay 61" will be distributed, among others, in India, the Great Britain and the United States of America. It will premiere in October 2017.