First I heard the sounds of Indian music, which is unusual for Edinburgh Old Town. Then I saw busy people equipped with radios and some tourists peering down over the railings on Victoria Terrace. In the corner of the terrace a huge net with multicoloured balloons was tucked in. In West Bow below a huge scrim for lights was set up and some folks looked like a film crew. An Indian girl was staggering along the street with an open champagne bottle in her hand. Yep, Bollywood had arrived to Edinburgh!

When you are out on the streets there are millions of possibilities craving your attention as an urban photographer. It is very important to zoom in on a subject, a task or a theme to focus your mind, and of course, your camera. To find an action on the street and stay with it while pulling your viewers along into your photo story requires you to practice a certain kind of mindfulness.

That Bollywood in Edinburgh vibe I felt cried to me that the West Bow scene below was a story worthy of staying with and focusing on.

I nosed around the location set and saw a clapperboard identifying the film as Tum Bin 2 (Love Will Find the Way), a sequel to the 2001 Bollywood romance drama. The film director was Anubhav Sinha, and the director of photography was Ewan Mulligan, an American living in London. Tum Bin 2 has been filmed entirely in Scotland, in Glasgow and Edinburgh. It’s not the first Hindi flicker filmed here, so much so that VisitScotland launched a campaign last year for Bollywood fans to come to Scotland to see the film locations.

Some of the Tum Bin 2 action sequences, such as the spectacular balloon release, were already filmed at this location in the morning when Victoria Street was much quieter. By the evening it was heaving with omnipresent tourists and casual onlookers, but the busier set became much more alive it was to me from the urban photography point of view. I decided to stay on to document the entire behind the scenes, not only the young Indian actors, the female lead Neha Sharma and the male actor Aditya Seal, the directors and the action itself but also the coaching process, the work of the members of the art department, the crew and of course the gazillion passers by who stopped to observe the filming.

Neha’s urban outfit, a chequered mini dress with a sleeveless vest coat popular this season, and her staggering around with a champagne bottle and high heals in hand hinted at the Bollywood romance story with a Western twist. It will make the drama current to a large Indian diaspora in English-speaking countries. On the other hand, the attractive Hindi music score and distinctly Indian dance moves will ensure the film is a hit at home as well.

I am glad I stayed until the end of filming at this location because the balloon release extravaganza transformed into a spontaneous street celebration, as balloons were given away to whoever wanted them, which created a lovely party atmosphere!

Film crew and tourists looking down from Victoria Terrace at the Tum Bin 2 film set
Film crew and tourists looking down from Victoria Terrace at the Tum Bin 2 film set
The film set on location - West Bow of Victoria Street, Edinburgh Old Town
The film set on location – West Bow of Victoria Street, Edinburgh Old Town
The light technician directs the light through the scrim
The light technician directs the light through the scrim
Clapperboard of Tum Bin 2
Trying my Edinburgh urban photographer hat on, I am nosing around the clapperboard to identify the directors and the name of the film…
Tum Bin 2 director Anubhav Sinha
Tum Bin 2 director Anubhav Sinha
Director of photography Ewan Mulligain against the tide of Edinburgh tourists surrounding the crew
Director of photography Ewan Mulligain against the tide of Edinburgh tourists surrounding the crew
Girls by stopping by the lights
Girls by stopping by the lights
Passers by eying the screens
Passers by eying the screens
Tum Bin 2 female lead Neha Sharma in a scene with a champagne bottle
Tum Bin 2 female lead Neha Sharma in a scene with a champagne bottle
Neha Sharma and her male lead Aditya Seal
Neha Sharma and her male lead Aditya Seal
Anubhav Sinha coaches the hat scene
Anubhav Sinha coaches the hat scene
One of the team takes charge of the props
One of the team takes charge of the props
Indian actors outside Walker Slater window in Wwar Bow
Indian actors outside Walker Slater window in Wwar Bow
A romance scene filmed
A romance scene filmed
Bollywood action
Bollywood action
A net with balloons lowered from Victoria Terrace
A net with balloons lowered from Victoria Terrace
Monitoring the process...
Monitoring the process…
... while being filed on mobile phones
… while being filed on mobile phones
Assistants from art department sorting the net
Assistants from art department sorting the net
Balloons pulled back up, ready for the next scene
Balloons pulled back up, ready for the next scene
Cameramen at work
Cameramen at work
Ewan Mulligan at work
Ewan Mulligan checking the framing
Neha Sharma practicing her run under before the balloon release
Neha Sharma practicing her run under before the balloon release
Neha Sharma filmed for Tum Bin 2 on the streets of Edinburgh
Neha passing the balloons
Cute face!
Cute face!
The balloon release on Victoria Street for Tum Bin 2 Bollywood romance
The balloon release on Victoria Street for Tum Bin 2 Bollywood romance
Balloons bouncing along the street
Balloons bouncing along the street
A selfie taker
After filming the balloons are freely given to the onlookers

Bollywood-Tum-Bin-2-Edinburgh-Victoria-Street-62.jpg

Girls with a balloon from Tum Bin 2
Girls with a balloon from Tum Bin 2
The film crew folding the wardrobe at the end of their filming day
The film crew folding the wardrobe at the end of their filming day
Final touches - folding the scrim
Final touches – folding the scrim

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