Study Guide

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Production Design

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Production Design

So You Got Banned From India

Indiana Jones goes to more countries than the Travelocity Roaming Gnome. If dotted lines racked up frequent flier miles, he'd be able to travel free for life. But Temple of Doom is a little different. Aside from the Shanghai nightclub, about 95% of the film takes place in India.

And 0% of it was actually filmed there.

Say you lived in a non-U.S. country, and some Americans wanted to make a movie in your backyard. They have a script that not only fundamentally misunderstands your culture, but also pokes fun at it for being foreign (their food is funny, ha ha?) and casts a lot of white people instead of people actually from your ethnic group.

Would you want those people filming in your country?

Didn't think so. A writer for the Times of India even accused Indian actor Amrish Puri, who played Mola Ram, for "sell[ing] his self-respect for several fistfuls of dollars." Ouch. (Source)

After being banned from filming in India, Spielberg shot most of the movie in Sri Lanka. They borrowed their elephants from the nearby Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage …which is clearly the next place we're going on vacation.

Pankot Palace was supposed to be filmed at the Pink City of India in Jaipur, which is practically a real-life Grand Budapest Hotel. But instead, Pankot was built on a soundstage in London's Elstree studios. (Source)

Finally, the film's last shot of the kids returning to the village wasn't even shot in Asia. It's California, with frames of film painted to look like the Indian countryside. (Source)

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