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Rediff.com  » Movies » Judi Dench: I love being in Rajasthan

Judi Dench: I love being in Rajasthan

January 27, 2014 17:46 IST

Judi Dench in a scene from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel“I love being in Rajasthan and am doubly happy that I have been able to come so soon after doing the The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 's first version. I would like to go to Udaipur again and see how the lakes are there now,” Judi Dench, who has been shooting in Jaipur for the sequel of her hit film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, says. P B Chandra reports.

Multiple award winning actress Judy Dench was shooting in Jaipur for the sequel to John Madden's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel when she heard that she had a nomination for Best Actress for the Oscars, for her role in Philomena.

“This is just the loveliest news. I was proud to be part of Philomena and all those who were involved with it. It’s good to hear that. Now I am looking for the next stride,” was Dench’s delighted reaction. 

Dench is part of the crew shooting the sequel to the 2012 British comedy drama The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which was shot entirely in Jaipur and Udaipur and became an unexpected hit. 

“I love being in Rajasthan and am doubly happy that I have been able to come so soon after doing the The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 's first version. I would like to go to Udaipur again and see how the lakes are there now,” Dench said.

The cast includes Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup, Diana Hardcastle, Lilette Dubey and Tena Desae.   

British Indian actor Dev Patel, who played the owner of the hotel where the guests came to stay and began their journey of self discovery, reprises the role. New to the cast of characters are Richard Gere, David Strathairn and Tamsin Greig. 

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2 is being shot in Jaipur's Nahargarh Fort and Jaigarh Fort. The crew will then go to Udaipur for a fortnight long shooting. 

"We are thrilled to reunite our creative and delightful Marigold Hotel family along with some intriguing new ‘guests’," said Claudia Lewis, production spokesperson. "We look forward to further exploring our characters' rich stories and triumphs. 

"What are the odds of being able to re-assemble this extraordinary group of actors and filmmakers, let alone to add to their number? We found a worldwide audience we never dreamed of for the first, and we feel very lucky to have the chance now to bring them this companion film." 

Director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) says the sequel “presented us with an irresistible opportunity: to continue a story we realised we had only just begun. Not to tell the same story again, but to pursue where the lives of these very different characters lead, with an audience which already holds them in great affection." 

The first film released in 2012 to record-breaking business in the UK and US, earning more than $135 million worldwide. It got a Best Picture nomination from the Hollywood Foreign Press, BAFTA, and the Screen Actors Guild (Ensemble Award).   

In the sequel, Sonny (Dev Patel) is expanding the far from efficient hotel and this is taking up more time than he has available, considering his imminent marriage to the love of his life, Sunaina (Tena Desae). 

The expansion is necessary because The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful has only one vacancy, thus posing a rooming predicament for fresh arrivals Guy (Richard Gere) and Lavinia (Tamsin Greig). 

Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy) have now joined the Jaipur workforce, and are wondering where their regular dates for Chilla pancakes will lead, while Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) are negotiating the tricky waters of an exclusive relationship, and Madge (Celia Imrie) juggles two eligible and very wealthy suitors. 

Perhaps the only one who may know the answers is newly installed co-manager of the hotel, Muriel (Maggie Smith), the keeper of everyone's secrets. As the demands of a traditional Indian wedding threaten to engulf them all, an unexpected way forward presents itself. 

The first film was based on author Deborah Moggach's 2004 novel These Foolish Things. Its success was seen as evidence of a gap in the market for films targeting an older demographic. After it pulled in an impressive $130m (£81m) worldwide, on a budget of just $10m (£6.2m), a sequel probably made sound business sense.

P B Chandra in Jaipur