Emergencies are the best way to gauge the benefits of not greedily picking up every offer that comes your way. This was endorsed recently by Yashraj Films’ hot-selling creation Ranveer Singh, the young man who went from unlikely hero to unavailable celebrity when Band Baajaa Baraat gave him the best introduction any newcomer could dream of. Making himself unavailable for most of the films that were offered to him, Ranveer did only one more Yashraj film after that (Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl, a flop) and waited for months before beginning Udaan director Vikramaditya Motwane’s next project, Lootera opposite Sonakshi Sinha.
But shooting which began with much fanfare and eagerness has been put on pause for a long spell because Ranveer Singh is at home facing physiotherapists and doctors instead of cameras and co-actors.
“I dismissed it as one of those normal gymming injuries,” explained Ranveer, who is housebound until he makes a complete recovery from what has turned out to be one step away from full-fledged spondylitis. A recurring backache was handled as something a day’s rest would take care of until a scene which required some hot octane action packed up his back completely. It also wound up the shooting schedule of his only film on the floor, Lootera.
It’s the second time the shooting of Lootera has had a swift change in its schedules. Unpredictable weather conditions had earlier forced the unit to shift from Dalhousie to Purulia in West Bengal (made famous by the arms dropping case). That was going great guns when Ranveer’s back played up. Although this means that the release of his third film will probably move to 2013, Ranveer is sighing with relief that it ain’t his dates which will cause a delay.
“We were planning a break between schedules anyway,” he pointed out. “Only a little work was remaining in this schedule which we’ll catch up with in the next spell of shooting.” An injury that keeps its hero at home for a few weeks could have spelt a mess if he had several other assignments piling up, awaiting his time. Fortunately, by doing only one film at a time, Ranveer Singh can give this project undivided attention until it is completed.
The weather also played spoilsport during Vishal Bhardwaj’s recent shoot of Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola. Quite a mouthful, that title. A cyclone hit the team in Punjab where Aamir’s nephew Imran Khan was shooting for the film with Anushka Sharma and Pankaj Kapoor. It not only disrupted the shoot but also seriously injured a few of the unit hands when a light tower fell on them. But they’ve resumed shooting and won’t return to Mumbai until they’re almost done with the film.
“Shoot’s going well,” reported hero Imran Khan from somewhere near Chandigarh. “But the rain does show up now and again. Part of the deal when you shoot outdoors,” he added pragmatically.
Making the most of summer time and shooting outdoors right now is also Prakash Jha who is stationed in Bhopal for Chakravyuh, his new Arjun Rampal-Abhay Deol starrer. Jha, who needs an issue to make a film, has picked up the current Naxal-Maoist theme for Chakravyuh with Arjun Rampal playing a cop in it. Prakash Jha will wrap up the entire shooting in June and release the film too, by year-end.
All these slightly off-the-mainstream filmmakers are neck-deep in new films. After a setback like Saat Khoon Maaf, Vishal Bhardwaj, for instance, has two more productions lined up this year, apart from the strange-sounding Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola. He has Dedh Ishqiya, the sequel to Ishqiya coming up, with Kangana Ranaut and Madhuri Dixit taking Vidya Balan’s place in it while Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi retain their jobs. Vishal also has Daayan on the floor (co-produced by Ekta Kapoor). This is the film in which Konkona Sen will be seen after her maternity break.
In this season of sequels and remakes, Sajid Khan has announced that he will be remaking the old Jeetendra-Sridevi starrer Himmatwala. While Mumbai dailies speculate whether it will be Deepika, Katrina or Anushka in the film, Ajay Devgn has already been announced as its hero. But there are two points worth pondering over. One, can you imagine Devgn of two left feet fame dancing to old hits like Nainon mein sapna which had Jeetu jumping all over like a grasshopper? And two, will Deepika topline the cast just because she starred in Sajid Khan’s Housefull? A strong whisper insists that Ajay Devgn has a problem working with Ms Padukone.
Bharathi S. Pradhan is editor, The Film Street Journal