History Channel works with Salman Khan and films around Nice in France for India launch
The History Channel has filmed three new ads marking its India launch. Bollywood star Salman Khan appears talking to a samurai warrior in a Japanese bamboo enclave, chatting to a tired rock climber on a mountain peak and relaxing with a jungle explorer on a remote river bank.
Production company Tubelight Films started looking overseas for filming locations when they couldn’t find anything suitable in India. Countries including Morocco, Sri Lanka and Turkey were considered, but none could offer quite what the team was looking for.
We got in touch with JP Constantini and credit to him for working so hard to find us everything we needed in France. Honestly I had not imagined that I would get such a diverse topography in France, so it was a pleasant surprise.
Prashant Issar, Director
Prashant Issar directed the spots: “Basically to find all the three different locales in one country was getting difficult. Then we got in touch with JP Constantini and credit to him for working so hard to find us everything we needed in France. Honestly I had not imagined that I would get such a diverse topography in France, so it was a pleasant surprise.”
Each spot ended up being filmed in south-east France, using Nice as a production base. An hour’s drive from the city Costantini and his company IFILMEUROPE found France’s biggest privately-owned bamboo garden for the samurai spot. A river west of Nice was used for the swamp spot and the rock-climbing piece was filmed on two peaks in the massif Dévoluy in the French Alps, including the Pic de Bure, one of the highest. Khan’s scenes were filmed separately in India in a green-screen studio.
Filming in the swampy river environment proved tricky on a limited budget as the team had to build camera rigs onto the boats. A lot of time was spent with the crew kitted out in rubber waders in the river.
The mountain shoot was perhaps the most challenging. A three-day scout convinced the team that two separate mountains would need to be filmed; one that the climber could safely scale and another with a good-looking peak suitable for a meet-up between the mountaineer and Salman Khan. As an added challenge they had to be close together as there was only one shooting day for that spot.
Constantini states: “The client and agency wanted the film to happen in a very remote mountain area with no grass in a landscape that we could describe as a desert lunar landscape at high altitude. As I have been involved in mountain climbing, I did investigate several options and the Pic de Bure was one of them but there was a problem accessing the peak with equipment and crew.”
The client and agency wanted the film to happen in a very remote mountain area with no grass in a landscape that we could describe as a desert lunar landscape at high altitude.
JP Constantini, IFILMEUROPE
Two helicopters were used to transport the crew between locations and capture the relevant aerial shots of the mountaineer too. There was an extra challenge for the climber as the temperature dropped to just five Degrees Celsius but he had to make the climb in only a T-shirt for the spot’s summer setting.
Issar comments: “The challenge was to get a mountain which looks like you are on top of the world; plus it had to be accessible for the crew; plus we needed the rocky surface of the mountain to be friendly for the mountain climber to climb. Now this caused us a lot of difficulty because a mountain which is accessible does not feel dangerous enough and the mountain which looks dangerous is also difficult to access for a crew of 20-odd people.”
Costantini concludes: “The south of France was the perfect choice [for this project], offering the right locations with the backup of the film industry from Nice.”
Client: History Channel India
Agency: McCann Erickson
Creative Director: Angshumani Khanna
Production Company: Tubelight Films
Producer: Radhika Sahaney
Production Service Company: IFILMEUROPE
Line Producer: JP Costantini
Location Manager: Pierre-Yves Parrinet
Director: Prashant Issar
Global Filming Incentive - France (see more…)
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