It’s finally happening. Akshay Kumar and the entire cast and crew of Bell Bottom (around 120 people) is now set to head for UK for a start to finish schedule of the film. With the visa formalities put in place for the travel this Wednesday, the production team is ensuring that all the safety protocols are being taken care of so as to fight out the COVID 19 menace.
No wonder, the industry is rejoicing as this is the first big film that is resuming shoot post the lockdown and the success of this trip could well be a shot in the arm for Bollywood which has been reeling with no action for almost five months now.
Says Akshaye Rathi, exhibitor and distributor, “It is really good to see some of the bigger actors getting back to shoot. It is a clear realization that by keeping enterprising business short, you can’t control COVID. Need of the hour is to follow the right kind of protocols and SOPs with discipline so that the industry is able to function. I am glad that the shoots are starting.”
Bell Bottom is clearly one of the high profile shoots that would be watched quite carefully as along with Akshay Kumar, the trio of Vaani Kapoor, Huma Qureshi and Lara Dutta are traveling as well.
One such filmmaker who is excited about shoots resuming is Tiger Zinda Hai and Bharat director Ali Abbas Zafar.
“Well, I can tell you that we too are in full-fledged pre-production and are ready to get on the floors once the COVID situation improves. Till then we are utilizing our time productively into writing, setting up the crew, and pre-visualizing the action,” he says.
All of that has been pretty much put into motion by the production teams of Pooja Entertainment [Vashu Bhagnani, Jackky Bhagnani, Deepshikha Deshmukh] and Emmay Entertainment [Monisha Advani, Madhu Bhojwani and Nikkhil Advani] who have plans set in place to release the film on 2nd April 2021.
Says Rakul Preet Singh, who delivered a 100 Crore club hit De De Pyaar De last year, “I am really happy that someone has taken the plunge and especially a bigger actor like Akshay Kumar is starting the shoot. Of course, one has to take necessary precautions and go ahead. I am of a strong belief that life can’t stop and we need to adapt to the changes. It is about following the new normal and taking all the precautions. I can’t wait to start one of my shoots soon. I am all geared up and can’t wait to hear the sound of ‘action’.”
Meanwhile, Akshay is already putting together plans for his huge line up ahead that already comprises of Prithviraj, Atrangi Re and Bachchan Pandey, which are in different stages of production. Soon he would be releasing Laxmmi Bomb on OTT while Sooryavanshi is aiming for Diwali release. While Bell Bottom shooting is now ready to kick-start, he has also announced Rakshabandhan for Diwali 2021, hence ensuring a packed couple of years ahead.
No wonder, another top action star of Bollywood, Tiger Shroff, is might impressed. “Well, this is what’s expected from our original action hero,” he says, “He is the first one to fight the virus and get back to work. No wonder, he is legend for a reason.”
A step in this direction is already giving hope to many other filmmakers and actors who are raring to showcase their work in front of the audience.
“It’s been four months since India first went under lockdown due to the Covid19 pandemic. Safety, precaution and social distancing has become the new norm and is the utmost priority of the entire world. We are in this together! I couldn’t be more elated to know that shootings are resuming slowly but surely,” says Namashi Chakraborty whose debut film Bad Boy with director Rajkumar Santoshi is set for release soon.
He goes on to add, “I am so happy that Akki bhai and Vaani are going to Scotland to kick off the shoot of Bell Bottom. It’s the hope to a newer beginning! I myself am awaiting the release of my debut film Bad Boy, which only has some patch work left to be done. This would be followed by another film that I am doing, which will be announced soon. Cheers to health and our film industry!”
While the shootings have started and Bell Bottom would lead the way, it also has to be seen which of the biggies decide to arrive in theaters once they reopen, something which is expected by September. Though Sooryavanshi [Diwali] and ’83 [Christmas] have announced their holiday plans, many other biggies like Radhe, Mumbai Saga and Coolie No. 1 amongst others are raring to go as well.
“I am very positive that cinemas will open as well. It would be needed for the overall health of the industry,” says Akshaye, “Moreover, even in near future, a lot of content needs to be made. All the superstars, especially Akshay Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Ajay Devgn, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff and Varun Dhawan need to do more films to be able to compensate for losses that industry has borne over last few months. So I must congratulate Akshay Kumar and Vashu Bhagnani for kick-starting Bell Bottom. This is a very positive start.”
We agree. After all Bollywood is now set be back in business with Bell Bottom.