From Boggo to Bangalore: The Day Boggo Became an Indian Street Market


There have many great movies made in Australia. Sunday Too Far Away, My Brilliant Career, Gallipoli, The Year My Voice Broke, Some Phone Ad with Mahatma Cote. I was lucky enough to be present at the filming of the last one, which took place at Boggo Road circa 2004.

It was actually an ad for a phone card (or something) to be screened only in India. Why they filmed it at Boggo Road I don't know, but one day the production company moved in and transformed the gatehouse and inner compound into an Indian street market. The ad starred ex-cricketer Greg Ritchie as his 'Mahatma Cote' comedy Punjabi Sikh character, a regular guest on 1990s TV sports shows. He was all very It Ain't Half Hot, Mum, (see his work here), and I honestly don't know how it would have gone down in India. Anyway, it was a strange situation, with a fake Indian man in a fake Indian street making an ad that was only intended for viewing in India itself.

The museum staff were blown away by the effort put into filming, which went over a few days. The first step was transforming the prison, and in came tables and bright colours and market produce, finished off with dust thrown all over the floor.
Film shoot for Indian street scene, Boggo Road Gaol, Brisbane.
The gatehouse (© BRGHS)

Old cars and bikes were dragged into the 'quad', and buntings tied up everywhere.
Film shoot for Indian street scene, Boggo Road Gaol, Brisbane.
The 'quad' (© BRGHS)
All of the pink and blue building you can see to the left here was in fact just a temporary facade.
Film shoot for Indian street scene, Boggo Road Gaol, Brisbane.
(© BRGHS)
Directly across from the above was this building, which housed the office of the Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society and normally looked like this...
Film shoot for Indian street scene, Boggo Road Gaol, Brisbane.
(© BRGHS)
...but ended up looking like this:
Film shoot for Indian street scene, Boggo Road Gaol, Brisbane.
(© BRGHS)
I've been to India, and have to say the production crew did a surprisingly good job with this recreation. Best of all, during the shoot, the museum staff were kindly invited into the huge on-set catering trailer for a series of delicious all-you-can-politely-eat smorgasbords of great Indian food (which just happens to be my favourite food in the world). I was as happy as a pig in mud. And speaking of animals, what's an Indian street scene without a Brahman bull?
Film shoot for Indian street scene, Boggo Road Gaol, Brisbane.
(© BRGHS)

If anybody has a copy of the ad which came out of all this, I'd love to have a look at it too. Or if any of the production crew have any pics or stories they'd like to share, that would also be great.

Anyway, strange days indeed at Boggo Road.




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