Leicester man lands role in Bollywood film

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A Leicester man who is named after a famous Bollywood star has ended up with a role in a film with his famous namesake!

Dharminder Shoker from Knighton, Leicester, is Asset Manager at the University of Leicester where a crew of over 100 are located for the shooting of Yamla Pagla Deewana 2.

The film features Bollywood legend Dharmendra and his star sons Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol. The family franchise movie is a sequel to the blockbuster hit of the same name.

Dharminder Shoker has been making arrangements for the shoot at the University campus where the botanic garden, Library, Students’ Union and halls of residence are being used as a backdrop for the movie.

He said: “I first met Sunny Deol and his team a couple of months back, when they had been invited by the University of Leicester to take a look around the campus as part of their location scouting visit in Leicester.

“It was very exciting to get to meet such a massive Bollywood film star, and a very proud moment when the entire team immediately began to complement the University’s campus and the facilities we provide here.

“The crew’s first location visit coincided with our summer graduation –and Sunny also took time out to meet some of the graduating students and their families. They were thrilled!”

Filming was quickly scheduled across the University’s estate at the main University Road site as well as the Oadby Student Village including the Botanic Gardens. But there was also a surprise in store for Dharminder: “It was totally unexpected when the YPD team handed me a script for three scenes in the film, asking me to play the role of Mr Jindal, Sunny’s client in the film. I play a UK-based banker who assigns Sunny’s character, Parmveer Singh Dillon, with a project which is where the story develops from.

“Having never acted before, but always up for a challenge, I accepted and got rehearsing.”

Sunny Deol said: “Dharminder Shoker showed plenty of enthusiasm and passion for the role. People will certainly notice him in the film and we are very pleased with his contribution.”

Before filming commenced, Dharminder Shoker visited Jasvinder Singh Bath, story/script writer of both the YPD films and Sangeeth Sivan, Director of the film, to rehearse.

“Little did I know that the Bollywood legend himself, the senior Deol, Dharmendra, was also going to be at the location. It’s no secret in our family where my parents got their inspiration from when they named me, so it was a litter nerve-racking to say the least when first meeting Dharam Ji. But after receiving such a warm Punjabi welcome and his blessings, I was good to go.

“The very first day of filming started at the University’s award-winning David Wilson Library, with the first scene in which Sunny and I meet. When I arrived on the set with my wife, Parneet , who joined me for much needed moral support, we were immediately made to feel part of the YPD family and I was whisked off for make-up -yes make-up!

“Having never been on a film set before I expected it to be chaotic, but I was pleasantly surprised at the way in which the operation ran like clockwork and how the whole film crew put their heart and soul into the shoot.

After the Mahurat had taken place on the University campus (the blessing ceremony which takes place before the first day of filming), Sunny kindly took me under his wing. I am not sure how many film stars of the Deol’s calibre would go to the lengths, even making the extra effort to give me cues when he was out of shot.

“I was also extremely happy to learn that as part of the Bollywood experience in Leicester, the YPD team have been keen to encourage technical involvement from the University’s film studies students and through the added support and guidance of Steve White, Leicester’s highly enthusiastic ambassador for education and Ashwani Chopra FRSA, the highly experienced UK based Line Producer for the film, this should prove to be a very useful work experience for our students.”

The crew for YPD2 will be in Leicester until November and the film is being released next summer.

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