Set-ting up for a new start!
With no movie shoots taking place for over two months now, filmmakers have surely been feeling the pinch. And those who had their [film] sets erected before the lockdown have, especially, been badly hit. Now, as the cost of maintaining the sets spiral and monsoon coming close, they are being dismantled.
Reportedly, Akshay Kumar-starrer Prithviraj’s twin sets [in Dahisar] are set to be pulled down. Also, Ajay Devgn’s Maidaan sets – of a football ground spread over 16 acre – has been dismantled. Earlier, Nikamma sets – erected in Madh Island for en elaborate song sequence – was pulled down.
Some time back, reports suggested that the set of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi [starring Alia Bhatt] was getting demolished but now, it has emerged that sets “are still intact” in Film City. Experts feel maintaining a set – that can cost anything between Rs five crore to Rs 50 crore depending on the lavishness – for a long duration isn’t feasible for any filmmaker at this point “when they are already under lot of financial duress”, and that’s why dismantling becomes a logical move.
Now, the big question is: as sets get dismantled, can filmmakers look at moving out of India – once things become fine across the world – to complete their films? “Yes, it can be an option for those who still have to wrap up huge chunks of their films, provided they find a way to cheat and shoot outside of India, or even out of Mumbai where things are under control,” says Nikamma director Sabbir Khan, who has 3-4 days of work left on the film.
Others, however, feel that moving out of India “won’t be easy” because most Hindi films are “intrinsically desi” with “very Indian backdrop.” Nikkhil Advani, who has about 10 days’ work still left on Arjun Kapoor-Rakul Preet Singh starrer, has a different reason. He says, “I can’t think of shooting out of Mumbai just for the sake of completing a film. There are so many daily wage workers such as carpenters, spot boys etc., who depend on film shoots for their livelihoods. I would rather wait and start work in the city, unless of course, my script demands me to move out. For instance, my show, Mughals has to be shot in Uzbekistan, and even [Akshay starrer] Bell Bottom is to be shot in a couple of countries.”
Maidaan makers, too, have no plans to “travel out of India or Mumbai in a rush to have their film completed.” “Our film is a sports film with many actors and a huge team. How will we take out 500 people now, and shoot? It’s very difficult. We plan to erect the sets again around September-October and start the shoot possibly in November. We still have about 30 days’ shoot left on the film,” says a source close to the film’s production team.
Bollywood’s new foreign connect!
Before lockdown, a number of film units were set to fly off to foreign locales to kick start shooting. While Karan Johar’s Takht was set to be shot in Spain and Italy, the filmmaker’s other production, starring Deepika Padukone and Ananya Panday, and directed by Shakun Batra, was set to be shot in Sri Lanka. Also, Akshay Kumar-starrer Bell Bottom is to be shot in London and Middle East. Of course, now, the cast and crew are in waiting mode for things to get better.