Bollywood movie films in Huntsville bring culture, jobs and cinematic ‘street cred’

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Huntsville is making its Bollywood on-screen debut. 30-percent of the film was shot in Huntsville with three of the biggest stars in Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma. Aside from the stars, many in Huntsville worked behind the scenes and you may be able to see a few local faces in the film!

"There's a lot of talent in this town," said Christy Toribio, an actress and extra in the film.

"This could be become the next entertainment media capital for this part of the world," said Prashant Shah, the film's executive producer.

The film, titled 'Zero' is bringing cinema attention and new experiences to Huntsville.

"It is actually my first Bollywood film," said actress and extra Sammie Laster.

Others echoed the new experience. "Not a Bollywood film, I've been in other ones but not a Bollywood," said Toribio.

"This is my first time," said a first-time actor Jalen Dees. Travearest Young is also new in the industry. "I've done one prior film."

The local film industry has also lent a hand to the production of 'Zero.' "I've kinda been able to interface with that part of the population that you know I haven't necessarily cast or used before in other projects," said Ayoka Billions, US casting director for the movie, local casting director and co-owner of Hollywood Huntsville.

Shah says brand new technology has made 'Zero' the most expensive and challenging Bollywood film."It's the first of its kind in the entire motion picture business, not even Hollywood has used it."

While in Huntsville, the film was able to find multiple locations to build their sets including the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the Huntsville Botanical Gardens and even filmed a temple scene here at the Hindu Cultural Center of North Alabama. "Huntsville is the first city in Alabama that has an Indian Temple," added Shah.

The American cast and crew are enjoying the culture."The different languages and the different cultures, and the vibe I get is everybody is excited to be here," said Dees.

And new experiences. "I tried Indian food today! And it was different, but I liked it," said Young.

The films also brings along a little cinematic 'street cred.' "By the time we wrap the film in Huntsville we would have created a little over 1500 jobs," explained Shah.

"They need to bring more films to the area just to let them, this talent grow," encouraged Toribio.

"So hopefully, fingers crossed, we'll see a lot of Huntsville faces in the end product," said Billions.

If you want to see some of those Huntsville faces or just love Bollywood films 'Zero' will hit theaters on December 21 this year and the producers say they plan to show it at the Regal Cinema in Huntsville.

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