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When Bollywood came to Tonbridge Road

By Alan Smith

If you are one of the biggest stars in the Bollywood film industry, there can only be one place you want to shoot your latest movie - in the car park at Margaret Preedy's Dance Studios.

Margaret was contacted two weeks ago by Lily Pad Motion Pictures asking if they could shoot scenes for a new film - with the working title RIP - at Rianos on Tonbridge Road, Maidstone.

She agreed and the film crew duly arrived on Friday night to set up.

Margaret Preedy with Mohanlal (2258772)
Margaret Preedy with Mohanlal (2258772)

On Saturday, Margaret found herself rubbing shoulders with Mohanlal Viswanathan, an Indian singer, actor and producer with an incredible 380 films to his credit.

Known simply as Mohanlal, he has received two Best Actors in India's National Film Awards as well as Best Feature Film, as producer.

The pavilion was converted to a funeral parlour
The pavilion was converted to a funeral parlour

Margaret said: "We were advised to keep it quiet, which we managed on Saturday, but by Sunday word had leaked out and we had around 300 Indian families hanging around hoping to catch a glimpse of Mohanlal."

Naturally, Margaret, who has been teaching dance in Maidstone for the past 40 years, was hoping to see a bit of the dancing for which Bollywood is famous, but there wasn't any.

Filming in the car park behind Rianos (2258774)
Filming in the car park behind Rianos (2258774)

She said: "It seemed to be a comedy about an old lady who visits England and dies unexpectedly."

The Rianos pavillion, which is usually used for marriage services, was converted to a funeral parlour for the weekend.

At one point, Margaret found herself unexpectedly roped in for a part - she said: "I had to drive my car as a getaway vehicle."

Margaret, who confessed to having never watched a Bollywood movie all the way through, said this was one she would definitely go to see when it is released in September.

Some of the scenes were filmed from Margaret's bedroom window
Some of the scenes were filmed from Margaret's bedroom window

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