Actors Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar, with filmmaker Aanand L Rai
Actors Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar, with filmmaker Aanand L Rai

A-listers back to work: Positive sign for the industry yet again

As a host of actors such as Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar venture out to work again, are normal days back for the film industry again? We talk to makers and experts to find out.
By Rishabh Suri
PUBLISHED ON JUN 23, 2021 03:35 PM IST

When will shoots resume has perhaps been the biggest question on everyone’s minds, as restrictions have started easing up around the country. And our stars too, have begun venturing out.

Akshay Kumar led from the front when he finished Bell Bottom last year. And now, he ventured out on June 18 for the shoot of Aanand L Rai’s Rakshabandhan. Alia Bhatt’s work on Gangubai Kathiawadi began from June 20, while Aamir Khan is already back on set for his much-awaited next, Laal Singh Chadha.

The industry is naturally heaving a sigh of relief. Hansal Mehta, while not disclosing which project, says he is also set to get rolling with a new film. “Any restarting of work is good news. However, these are just early days. There are still a lot of rules, and for projects that are smaller, there are budgets, so it is still slightly distant. But this is a good beginning. I am still figuring out things for my project, it will begin soon,” he tells us.

Lot of films have already begun work on their post-production. Madhur Bhandarkar’s India Lockdown is one of them. He tells us that these A-list actors willing to step out is a big booster.

“A lot of films were stuck, in terms of their sets still standing. I spoke to some of my colleagues, they said they had sequences of crowd shooting, dance sequences all left. I am very happy that the industry is back on the forefront, and started shooting following all protocols,” says the 52-year-old National Award winner.

He is pinning his hopes on the vaccination. “I hope maximum vaccinations have happened.I also got my team and technicians vaccinated. It is a good sign that all big production houses are doing that. It is a great initiative. I am happy that the industry is getting back on track. People are looking to work. We lost a lot of near and dear ones in the second lockdown, there was such a massive impact. I hope things become normal and we shoot with ease,” adds Bhandarkar.

Amitabh Bachchan was also among the first ones from Bollywood, who stepped out for the shoot of his upcoming film GoodBye, with Neena Gupta. Shah Rukh Khan also hinted at resuming work (rumoured to be Pathan) when he tweeted recently, “... Time now for a trim and get back to work I guess...Wishing everyone who is getting back to a bit of normalcy...safe and healthy days and months of work ahead”.

Trade expert Atul Mohan agrees that all this is a good sign. “Only the big actors can lead and show us the way. When they step out, the confidence level of their unit members, and people not associated with the project, too, gets a boost. It shows that things are coming back on track,” he says.

Emphasising on how this also leads to massive employment, exhibitor Akshaye Rathi says, “While we are working towards saving lives through vaccination, we also need to start working towards saving livelihoods. Keeping people at home without bread and butter is killing them of starvation and hunger. The drive right now is to get maximum people vaccinated, and studios and production houses have been doing that. These A-listers got back to work, some pretty early. Akshay had stepped out in fact in the middle of last year for Bell Bottom.”

He also feels that every time a film is made with these big stars, livelihoods get saved. Rathi explains, “Hundreds of people are there in pre-production, during shoot, post production, managers, staff, VFX studios, everyone gets employment. That is why somewhere, by just getting back on a set and working, the actors make more money for themselves and generate jobs for hundreds of people.”

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