Bigelow shooting Osama film in Chandigarh

Chandigarh: Osama Bin Laden`s last few days before he was killed in Pakistan`s garrison town of Abbottabad in a covert US raid by elite special forces is being recreated by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow in Chandigarh.

The film`s crew has been shooting in prominent markets and at the Punjab Engineering College here with shop boards in Urdu, auto-rickshaws with Lahore number plates, burqa-clad women and men in shalwar-kameez, chappals and skullcaps.

A bus could also be seen with Pakistani decorations, bright colours and motifs, jhoomers and lights. Outside the shops stood rehriwallas and hawkers in the typical clothes of Pakistani Punjabis.

Bigelow, 60, became the first woman to win the Academy award for the best director for the Iraq war drama `The Hurt Locker` last year. The crew, keeping the plot under wraps, is shooting the story of Osama being hunt down by the US commandos.

With US-Pakistan relations strained, Bigelow could not shoot in Pakistan where the infamous Abbottabad building was razed over the weekend. The shops hired for the shoot were suitably transformed.

An internet cafe was `Kotli call centre`. It reads ISD and PCO booth, `Regal Centre` is `Shahi Yunani Dawa Khana` and Ramgarhia Hardware store has become `Shahzad Hardware and Paint Store`.

Sources said that the production team plans to recreate Abbotabad in Rajasthan as well. The title of the film is being kept as a closely guarded secret but for now it is being talked about as `Zero Dark 30`.

The city will see the unit shoot scenes at various locations over a month`s period. The crew had shot near a mosque in Manakpuri in SAS Nagar near here.

Since Osama had earned a Civil engineering degree from King Abdul Aziz University so the local engineering college has been selected for shooting the scenes related to his college days.

Sources said the crew would also be visiting parts of Punjab including Patiala. Some Hollywood actors, including Jessica Chastain, are expected to be here for the shooting of the film.

The crew of the film refused to speak to the media but production companies from Mumbai and Delhi have also been roped in. A local production company has gathered over 100 artistes for the crowd scene. Sources said the film may be released at the end of this year.