Arts Desk

Now Casting: 9 Eleven, the D.C. Area’s First Feature-Length Bollywood Film?


Speak Hindi? Need something to do for a month or so this fall? Excellent! A production company is now casting for a feature-length film called 9 Eleven—which, judging by the casting notice, I take to be a mash-up of The Matrix, Halloween, and World Trade Center.

In fact, writer/director Manan Singh Katohora is fairly sure that 9 Eleven will be the first Bollywood film largely shot in the D.C. area. I'm not quite sure, exactly, how to check this fact, but I left a message for the culture department at the Embassy of India. I'll update when I hear back.

"I really can’t give too much away about the plot," Katohora says, describing 9 Eleven as a thriller. "All I can say is it has the undertone of terrorism—it’s about characters and about life decisions."

Katohora, a 34-year-old Silver Spring resident, has made several low-budget, English-language films starring mostly South Asian actors. These include Arya (2003) and When Kiran Met Karen (2008), which Katohora describes as "a controversial cross-cultural lesbian film."

According to the e-mailed casting notice, producers are looking for Hindi-speaking actors as well as 250 extras (!) for a dance sequence. They won't be discriminating by ethnicity, the note says.

While Katohora says the film will be an ensemble piece without a marquee lead, he'd like to cast a famous Bollywood actress in the elaborate dance scene. Katohora says he and his producers are looking at several options.

While Katohora wouldn't reveal his budget—it's a "medium-sized film," he says—he says his main producer is Narain Kumar Mathur. Mathur doesn't have any producer credits on IMDB or various Bollywood databases, but according to a Washington Post article, he ran in 2006 for the Charles County Board of Education and lost.

The film will be in Hindi, and will be released in India and throughout South Asia, Katohora says.

Here's the full  notice, with contact info for prospective actors, extras, and crew members:


HINDI SPEAKING ACTORS – Send pics and info to –

For Business, Distribution, and ProductPlacement Queries – Email or Call 301 213 5588

(You will have to take a month off for the film, Bollywood Movie will be filmed in Maryland/WashingtonDC/Virginia/NewJersey/NewYork)

We need 250 extras for a Stage Dance Sequence – An Item Number with a famous Bollywood Actress (the name will be revealed soon).
Email pics and weekends/weekday availability to –
Any ethnicity.

We are looking for Production Interns, Production Assistants, Assistant Directors.
This is your chance to work on a BOLLYWOOD FILM PROJECT – aimed for Theatrical Release in INDIA, and all other South-Asian centers where Hindi movies are played.
We need LOCAL CREW (MD/DC/VA) – Send info to –

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  • Anonymous Please

    One Bollywood film partially took place in Washington, DC, "Swades". This was a big budget, big feature with the biggest Indian megastar actor and an Oscar nominated director.

    The lead actor, Shah Rukh Khan (probably the first or second most powerful and popular Bollywood film actor, undisputed) played a NASA scientist who lived and worked in DC. In the film there are several shots of known DC landmarks. I'm assuming the DC film board/etc. that gives out permits would know more.

    I feel like at a concert of his I went to a few years ago he even referred to someone from the Library of Congress having worked with him to select movies of his (?) for archival - he even pointed her out in the audience/brought her on stage - maybe some leads there as well.

    By the way, the director of this movie, Ashutosh Gowariker, received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film for "Lagaan" as I mentioned. This was the great Indian hope back then... before Slumdog ever came on the scene. And Shah Rukh Khan was in American media a lot last year when he was detained at the airport, due to potential anti-Islamic bias while filming "My Name is Khan." It was cool to see that mentioned on's front page - I think the Hollywood backers (Warner maybe?) of that film may have encouraged that as a publicity stunt though.

  • Sonny Chatrath

    I am pleased to inform the readers of this forum, that the film is finally complete. I played one of the lead roles in the film. The media release for the film is on December 19th at the Martin Crosswinds. Media Personnel can contact the producer Narain Mathur for an invitation by emailing him directly at his email address mentioned in the article.