Bollywood period espionage thriller “Bellbottom,” starring Akshay Kumar (“Pad Man”), and directed by Ranjit Tewari (“Lucknow Central”) has wrapped its Scotland shoot, making it one of the first projects globally to start and complete its entire shoot during the coronavirus pandemic.
Producers Pooja Entertainment (“Coolie No. 1”) flew the 200-strong crew in a chartered flight to Glasgow and quarantined them for 14 days, creating a bubble, and completed the film in a 45-day schedule over August and September.
The unit worked closely with Scotland’s Screen Commission and adhered to COVID-safe guidelines. Besides medical-grade PPE, and required distancing, the production made it mandatory for all cast and crew to wear a watch that constantly monitored their oxygen levels, body temperature, blood pressure, stress levels and pulse. A centralized dashboard constantly recorded the parameters of the entire unit and kept a check for any changes in readings.
The cast also includes Vaani Kapoor (“War”), Huma Qureshi (“Leila”), Adil Hussain (“Life of Pi”), Denzil Smith (“Tenet”) and Lara Dutta (“Hundred”). The film is written by Aseem Arrora (“Malang”) and Parveez Shaikh (“Bajrangi Bhaijaan”).
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“The new normal has made us realize a different way of working that none of us could have imagined. As much as I’ve been happy to be back on the sets, it’s also important for us to take care of everything around us,” said Kumar. “We were extremely glad to be able to start shooting for ‘Bellbottom’ after the long lockdown.”
“I hope this encourages film industries globally to do what they do best and start entertaining audiences again,” Kumar added.
Producer Jackky Bhagnani said: “It was only after every department and every individual was assured of the measures taken that we began this journey. From a doctor on the set at all times to keeping the entire set disinfected at all times, safety first has been our mantra. It was a challenge but it makes ‘Bellbottom’ even more special for all of us.”
Vaani Kapoor said: “This was easily among the smoothest productions that I have been a part of. I was concerned about how it was going to play out, given the fear and health concerns, but I must thank and congratulate Pooja Entertainment for the fantastic planning and the attention to detail.”
Producer Deepshikha Deshmukh said, “Medical waste was as big an issue as safety and protective measures and we took all possible steps to make sure we were an environmentally conscious film unit.”
“Bellbottom” is a Pooja Entertainment production in association with Emmay Entertainment, produced by Vashu Bhagnani, Jackky Bhagnani, Deepshikha Deshmukh, Monisha Advani, Madhu Bhojwani and Nikkhil Advani.
The film is set to release Apr. 2, 2021.