Top Bollywood star Akshay Kumar has been hospitalized and his much awaited blockbuster “Sooryavanshi” has been postponed as COVID-19 rampages across Mumbai, capital of the Hindi-language film industry.
Kumar was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Sunday and he was hospitalized on Monday. According to Indian media reports, along with Kumar, 45 people working on “Ram Setu,” Amazon India’s first Indian film co-production, also tested positive for coronavirus.
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) April 5, 2021
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) April 4, 2021
The 45 people who tested positive were not on the sets of the film. “This is inaccurate that they were on set,” an official spokesperson for “Ram Setu” told Variety. “These individuals were part of an upcoming set of junior artistes and extras and were tested off-location as part of the production’s stringent testing protocols and guidelines. None of them even joined the production unit and were never on set.”
“At this stage, our only focus is on the health, safety and well-being of our entire crew,” the spokesperson added. “Strict health and safety protocols, frequent testing and timely medical care has ensured early detection of positive cases amongst our unit. We are closely monitoring the situation but in the interest of abundant caution, we have paused the shooting for now.”
Amazon offered no comment.
Separately, actors Vicky Kaushal (“Uri: The Surgical Strike”) and Bhumi Pednekar (“Dolly Kitty and Those Twinkling Stars”) also tested positive on Monday.
Mumbai went into restrictions from Monday as Maharashtra, the western Indian state of which Mumbai is the capital, became the country’s epicenter for the pandemic. Cinemas, malls and restaurants have shut down until further notice. India recorded 103,558 new coronavirus cases on Monday, with 478 deaths, the country’s highest ever one-day figure to date, according to figures from the health ministry. Some 55% of the cases are from Maharashtra.
Consequently, Reliance Entertainment has decided to postpone the April 30 release of “Sooryavanshi,” starring Kumar, Ranveer Singh and Ajay Devgn.
Last week, the release of “Chehre,” starring Amitabh Bachchan, was also postponed. Other high profile COVID-19 cases from Mumbai include superstar Aamir Khan, and former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.