Bollywood star enclave in South Africa
A unique and exclusive residential suburb to be built here for Bollywood stars has been sold out even before the proposal was approved by the South African government.
By Fakir Hassen, IANS
Following the popularity of this scenic coastal city for both shooting of Indian films and as a holiday destination for film stars, one of South Africa's largest property developers, Uitgevang Estates, conceived the project.
Among the stars who reportedly showed interest in buying property are Akshay Kumar, who has been house-hunting in Cape Town for some time, and Amitabh Bachchan, a frequent visitor to South Africa for his self-confessed love of its game parks.
Tentatively called Bollyburg, the suburb is to be developed on a stretch of beach south of the city that is a declared nature reserve, after the government gives permission to convert it into a residential area.
"We are confident that the government will grant this permission, particularly in view of our submission that all housing developments will be done without interfering with the fauna and flora of the area in any way," a spokesman for the developers, Joan Enorilpa, told IANS.
"We are aware that similar applications to rezone a natural area have been rejected in the past, but we believe the status of the Bollywood residents, who will be the only ones allowed in Bollyburg, gives our plan a credibility beyond that of any others.
"These are responsible, cultured people who will ensure that all requirements are compiled with."
Enorilpa was reluctant to divulge her star clients' names, but confirmed that all 22 units had been sold to big names in Bollywood.
"In fact, we have had to turn away so many Bollywood stars who have been making enquiries from our Mumbai agents because we are already oversold," she said.
"Only 22 units will be available, each covering a huge area where the natural wildlife will roam freely, except for electric fences around the dwellings to protect the stars."
Enorilpa also said there would be a cap on the number of residents per unit, so film stars will not be able to bring in many extended family members or staff.
"Late night parties are also specifically prohibited. This has certainly deterred a couple of prospective buyers, but others seem to be pleased at finally being able to find a place where they can unwind in peace and quiet.
"The buyers would have to sign a code of conduct agreement to ensure that they do not infringe on the privacy and other rights of their neighbours."
Enorilpa said most Bollywood buyers would probably treat their homes in Bollyburg as a holiday home, but some who shoot here regularly may use it more often.
The fully furnished and serviced units, with selling prices starting at 4.5 million rands, will be done up to each buyer's specifications and tastes. An individual interior designer has been appointed for each buyer.
"No two units will look the same," said Enorilpa.
There will be no public access to within two kilometres of Bollyburg, making it the first of its kind in the world.