Sahibabad stitches a link with Tom Cruise, Russel Crowe
Sahibabad: The Tom Cruise starrer "The Last Samurai", Russell Crowe`s "Robin Hood" and many other Hollywood movies have an India connection. The epic war attires of these stars were made by a company based here.
"For Tom Cruise and Orlando Bloom`s (`Pirates of the Caribbean`) movies, we directly supplied the combat dresses for the cast. We now export war dresses of the ancient and medieval era to a Spanish company that rents it out to various Hollywood-based production houses and others," Ashok Rai, 29, the owner of Indian Handicrafts & Textiles Syndicate, told IANS here.
"I can`t remember the names of all the movies where our products have been used, but I can tell you that our war paraphernalia was used in `Robin Hood`, `The Chronicles of Narnia`, `Pirates of the Caribbean -- Dead Man`s Chest`," Rai said.
Talking about his first deal with Hollywood, the young entrepreneur recalled: "We were first approached by someone in the directorial team of `The Last Samurai`. He first enquired whether such a company exists, and then someone from the New Zealand embassy came to inspect our products and placed the order for director Edward Zwick."
"We made all the war dresses for Tom Cruise, except the sword, and were paid around $6,000 for it. For Ridley Scott`s war epic `The Kingdom of Heaven` we made 1,500 chain mails worth $250,000 and were paid $180,000 in advance," Rai said.
Asked if his firm had made any equipment for Bollywood movies, he said: "No, as of now we haven`t made any products for Bollyood. I think they find our rate too high and we don`t even see too much margin here."
Based in Sahibabad town of Uttar Pradesh`s Ghaziabad district, adjoining Delhi, the firm specialises in making replicas of helmets, swords, chain mails, shields and other war paraphernalia of medieval eras.
Rai, a college dropout, joined his father`s business at the age of 17. The company`s business stands at $2 million.
Talking about his clientele, he said: "Our major clients are from Europe. In many European countries they enact various period plays where they require these costumes. They are very particular about small details," he said, showing a German knee-length boot worn by a soldier during Word War-II that had been sent to him by a client for reference.