London: Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow plans to recreate the Pakistan Army garrison town Abbottabad in India for her new film on the US Navy Seals who tracked and killed Osama bin Laden.
The 60-year-old director’s eagerly-awaited film, which is reportedly titled ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, is due for release in December this year, tells the story of the US Navy Seal team which trailed the notorious al Qaeda leader before finally killing him, his aides and one of his sons in a night raid on his secret compound in the heart of a Pakistan army establishment town.
Its cast is set to include ‘The Help’ star Jessica Chastain, British actor Mark Strong, Aymen Hamdouchi and Kyle Chandler.
The raid, which was carried out without the knowledge of the Pakistan army and government, caused widespread anger at the violation of the country’s sovereignty and remains a source of anti-American feeling in the country.
The producers decided in the current security climate it would be impossible for them to film in Pakistan and looked for alternative locations.
One of the film’s actors, Chastain, who recently starred in the ‘Tree of Life’ and ‘The Help’, revealed that filming had been under way in Jordan and was set to move to India.
“I’ve been working on Bigelow’s movie in Jordan after the Oscars I go to India to shoot more,” the Telegraph quoted her as saying on a celebrity website earlier this week.
Indian officials confirmed that the producers are filming in the state of Punjab in Chandigarh and Patiala, and possibly close to Jaipur in Rajasthan, where they will recreate Abbottabad where bin Laden, his wives, children and aides hid for more than six years.
While Chandigarh is a 1950s modernist town created by the French designer Le Corbusier, its outskirts have villages which resemble Thanda Choha, the hamlet of dusty lanes and ugly walled mansions where bin Laden hid on an illegally-built upper floor.
Patiala is a historic royal town which has fine colonial buildings similar to some found in Abbottabad, the hill town named after the 19th British conqueror of the North West Frontier, Major James Abbott.
The film has already caused controversy in the United States where officials in the Obama administration have been accused of leaking details of the bin Laden raid to the producers.