India’s cinema industry is on the move, finally and film fans can look forward to new films, while many workers and their families are getting vaccinated until a scam was uncovered…
By Rodrigues C
Yo UK… we’re back!
Covid cases have drastically come down since our last outing here, though the last two days have seen a surge in new cases.
Wonder if the much expected third wave is upon us? There have been relaxations in many states. Maharashtra has implemented a unique five level-based system, where restrictions are eased according to the number of cases in a city/town (though today, both levels 1 & 2 were officially removed).
Theatres in Mumbai were allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity on June 14 after the city moved to Level 2. The decision was followed by Bollywood’s biggest news in many months. Akshay Kumar announced that his much-awaited spy thriller ‘Bell Bottom’, also staring Lara Dutta, Vaani Kapoor, and Huma Qureshi, would be released in theatres on July 27.
But the decision to release it on OTT less than 20 days after it hit theatres didn’t go down well with national cinema hall owners, who felt most people will prefer watching the movie in the homes as its more convenient.
Reportedly, theatre owners want the movie to release on OTT after 28 days and are in talks with ‘Bell Bottom’s’ producers.
Releasing ‘Bell Bottom’ in theatres will surely have a positive effect on Bollywood’s dwindling fortunes. Its ramifications can be huge on the cinema hall business, which has been bleeding all over India. And depending on how the film fares at the box office two big Bollywood movies are also lined up for a theatrical release in the immediate aftermath; Amitabh Bachchan and Emraan Hashmi thriller ‘Chehre’, which is about an 80-year-old who, likes to play real life games with his friends and ‘Attack’, where John Abraham leads a team in a hostage situation.
Additionally, 15 othe films are also scheduled for a theatrical release.
These include ‘Sooryavanshi’, where characters played by Aki, Ajay Devgn, and Ranveer Singh thwart a terrorist attack on Mumbai, ‘83’, based on India’s 1983 Cricket World Cup win, where Ranveer Singh plays Kapil Dev and Deepika Padukone his wife, ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar,’ Ranveer Singh’s character works for the protection and empowerment of women, ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’, a remake of Forrest Gump, where Aamir Khan plays an autistic man, ‘Prithviraj’, a drama, where Aki plays the king Prithviraj Chauhan, ‘Atrangi Re’, a love story with Aki, and Sara Ali Khan that takes viewers from Bihar in North India to Madurai in the South and ‘Satyameva Jayate 2’ – John Abraham’s vigilante drama sequel.
News on the film release front seems promising. The movies that will hit theatres in the coming months are those which had 2020 releases schedules but got scrapped because of the pandemic.
Once the backlog of unreleased films is cleared, there may be a dearth of new releases as many film shoots were affected and halted in the last two years.
To avoid this from becoming a reality, several producers are in a race against time to wind up their shoots. Now, for this to happen, they need to vaccinate the people that they work with; the film crew as well as their family members.
Until June 21, India faced a massive shortage of vaccines. Despite the shortfall, many production houses procured vaccines for their staff and their families. Yashraj Films inoculated 4,000 people associated with the film industry and promised jabs for another 30,000 members of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees.
Cinema chain PVR is giving jabs to 10,000 of its staff and families all over India. Devgn, The Producers Guild of India and Reliance Entertainment also conducted similar drives.
A few days back, the Mumbai police unearthed a fake vaccine scam at a housing block. Soon, media outlets started reporting about film production houses also being duped in the name of vaccines.
Producer Ramesh Taurani of Tips Industries stated that he organised jabs for 356 people through the services of an events company but hadn’t got their vaccination certificates; employees of another production house Matchbox Pictures were also part of the drive. Later, the city police released a statement that they are questioning four people regarding Taurani’s case.
For the time being, it’s unclear if more production houses were cheated in the vaccination scam. At the same time, there haven’t been any reports of new vaccination drives among Bollywood workers in the last few days; probably, the unfortunate event has led to Bollywood producers getting cautious about procuring vaccines for their film workers. We just hope this is not true and even if it is, it’s temporary. The good work should continue and help Bollywood stand back on its feet.
Caught up with our reviews of the month’s online fare with Natalie Barrass, aka @NatBollywood?