BY NATALIA NINGTHOUJAM
New Delhi, Oct 18 (IANS) The first two quarters of the year saw many Indians, including Malayalam star Prithviraj Sukumaran and Bollywood actress Mouni Roy, getting stuck abroad due to the pandemic. Now with places gradually opening up across the globe, shoots of Indian films and shows in foreign locales have started again, but with precautions.
One of the first big budget films to venture abroad for filming was the Akshay Kumar-starrer “Bell Bottom”. The crew had flown to the UK for a long schedule and returned home only recently.
Jackky Bhagnani, one of the producers of the film, didn’t share minute details of the challenges faced while shooting amidst the pandemic but called it “a difficult phase to shoot”.
For web series, it seems like Dubai is a hot favourite spot right now. Actors Angad Bedi and Sandeepa Dhar shot a special sequence for the upcoming web series, “Mum Bhai”, in the Emirate.
Before leaving Mumbai earlier this month, Sandeepa had said she was quite worried, though eventually it turned out to be a “smooth sail”.
“It was very pleasant, right from the time we landed. It was very well organised, the entire system of checking and testing. It was a smooth sail. I felt safe. The shooting experience was also easy breezy because the local crew was supportive. They got us to home-made food,” the actress told IANS.
Angad found shooting in Dubai a different experience. “We kept on getting tested. We were tested (for Covid-19) before we left the country, in Mumbai, and as soon as we landed in Dubai, we got tested at the airport. The report came in eight hours. One day we had to quarantine. The following day, we started our shoot,” he told IANS.
“It was good to see people over there maintaining social distance, everyone was wearing a mask. Even in places which were supposed to be crowded, there was negligible crowd. Even at shops, they were extremely careful,” he added.
For the crew, it was quite challenging to finish the shoot within stipulated time.
“Twelve hours in a day were not enough, but we did manage to pull off a lot of stuff. There was a desert safari and a belly dance sequence. We shot in a spice colony, at Dubai museum, and at the clock tower. It was nice to see that despite being so hot in the daytime, our crew stuck it out and made sure we could do as much as possible in the 12 hours allotted to us in a day. It was a different kind of experience because this is the new normal,” said Angad.
Actor Tanuj Virwani was also in Dubai a few weeks ago for two web shows, “7th Sense” and “Line Of Fire”.
“The situation in Dubai is much better than in India. Rules are very strict here. I can’t even leave my hotel room without wearing a mask, otherwise I would be fined,” Tanuj had earlier told IANS.
“Staff members make sure there’s always a less number of people on the sets. We have been given bands of different colours depending on what department we all belong to, so that we maintain proper social distancing. The situation here is very much organised,” he had shared.
Actors Mouni Roy and Purab Kohli shot for the film “London Confidential” in London post lockdown.
Not just Hindi films, regional projects have also started travelling to international destinations for work.
Last month, Bengali actor Saswata Chatterjee had taken to Instagram to post a photo with his team in England.
“With friends who are like family! Topnotch directors and fabulous actors! #englanddiaries #filmingofAnusndhan #kamaleshwarmukherjee #churniganguly #joydeepmukherjee #priyankasarkar #riddhisen,” he had captioned it.
Also, taking to social media is actor Ranvir Shorey, who recently tweeted a photo of him with his colleagues of the web show, “Metro Park”. They started shooting for the second season in New Jersey, US, earlier this month.