A HUGE film crew has made Burghley House “Burghley-wood” by using it as the perfect filming location for a Bollywood blockbuster.
The Elizabethan building has been playing host to some of the biggest stars of the Indian film industry for the shooting of Housefull 2.
It is director Sajid Khan’s eagerly awaited follow-up to his successful 2010 film Housefull, which was watched by around half a billion people.
For the past two weeks a crew of 150 people have been working on scenes for the sequel among Burghley House’s state rooms as well as outside in its grounds and gardens.
The 16th century building has already provided a backdrop for high-profile movies like The Da Vinci Code, Pride and Prejudice and Elizabeth the Golden Age but this was the stately home’s first Bollywood production and the largest film crew to use the house to date.
Burghley House Preservation Trust operations manager Ruth Hudson said: “It was great. It was good to see the house being used for a modern film.
“It’s been quite exciting. We have had a lot of Indian families coming to visit us trying to see the stars. We feel like we have reached out to a different demographic.”
Fans turned out in their droves to visit the house, which remained open to the public during filming, staying there until dusk and the gardens closed for a chance to glimpse the stars.
One couple even travelled hundreds of miles from Edinburgh after learning about the production and visited the house every day while the cameras were there.
Mrs Hudson described the response as “quite remarkable”.
Housefull 2 is a comedy and follows two Indian girls in pursuit of the richest Indian living in England, known as JD.
Burghley House doubles as JD’s mansion and his initials were added to the building’s gate for filming as well as a flag to the mast.
While hosting a Bollywood production sees Burghley House moving in a new direction, Mrs Hudson said the work while the cast and crew were there remained much the same as when they provided a set for traditional period dramas.
She said: “The process is much the same in terms of security and ensuring the safety of the house. That’s our main priority.
“Hopefully, this will get different people to come and tread in the footsteps of the Bollywood stars.
“It keeps the charity going. The income we get from filming here goes towards the preservation of the house but also adds to the tourism for the area.
“Filming does provide a huge amount of interest - not just in Burghley, but also Peterborough and Stamford.”