A stark-looking office with grey walls sporting maps about terrorist activities and sketches of wanted criminals. This isn’t the ATS (Anti Terrorism Squad) office; it’s a set for Anil Kapoor’s upcoming TV debut show, the desi version of the Hollywood show, 24.
The scene being shot is where Neil’s (Bhoopalam, of Shaitan fame; 2011) character confronts Anil’s character, Jai Singh Rathod. Anil is pacing around the set, rehearsing his lines. Director Abhinay Deo and Rensil D’Silva are looking at the monitor while spewing instructions to unit members. Abhinay says, “This scene is important to get the graph of the story right. It is a turning point. This is the first time these two prime characters are meeting.”
With a multiple camera set-up, the same shot is canned a few times till both Anil and Abhinay are satisfied. They seem to be shooting at the pace of a film. Abhinay agrees, saying, “We’re treating the show like a film rather than a TV series. The kind of action, actors and location we have will hopefully set new standards for TV.” From Gorai swamps, where they have shot a parachute-landing scene, to the crowded Mohammad Ali Road, this thriller is being shot in several real locations in and around Mumbai. “People will see the city as they have never seen it before,” Abhinay promises, adding, “This set mirrors the real ATS office headed by Rakesh Maria. We met him and his team for research.”
Anil says, “Whatever I do, I go all out. I need liberty, and commitment from everyone involved in the project. I don’t do anything half-baked.” Popular actors like Anupam Kher, Rahul Khanna, Shabana Azmi and Richa Chadha are part of 24. However, Anil says, “The newcomers in the show will become stars tomorrow. We have shot over 100 days and have another 100 to go.”
The show is likely to launch in September end.