Boney Kapoor on Ajith’s Valimai, Maidaan and other projects on hold
The producer discusses his plan of action once shooting resumes
Earlier this week, the Producers Guild of India submitted its list of safety recommendations for the resuming of on-set shoots. Over 30 Bollywood films, television series and digital shows have been left unfinished due to the lockdown. Producer Boney Kapoor, who has three major films in production, is gearing up for his return to action.
The pandemic has severely affected Boney’s upcoming release Maidaan - the $25M-budgeted soccer film featuring Ajay Devgn, for which his company built an enormous set that was later dismantled due to the lockdown. Additionally, the producer had to send his international crew and talent back home.
Opening up about the situation with Maidaan, Boney said, "We built a massive outdoor set covering a 16-acre plot around Mumbai, with all the production infrastructure. Just as the shoot was getting underway, the pandemic hit the world. We had to ensure the safety of our entire crew so we had to stop all prep and send everyone home. The set has now been dismantled as the rains are due to arrive in Mumbai.”
Boney estimated it will take at least two months to rebuild the set. Even if construction resumes as early as September, shooting can commence only in November. “This has resulted in a massive loss for us,” the producer said. “Thankfully all the indoor, and some outdoor, training portions of the film were shot in Lucknow and Kolkata so are already in the can."
Meanwhile, Boney is keeping busy with his South projects. These include Valimai, a Tamil action drama with Ajith Kumar, and Vakeel Sahab, the Telugu remake of Pink starring Pawan Kalyan. Both projects are expected to be up and running much easily, Boney assured.
"Vakil Saab is a remake of the hit Amitabh Bachchan starrer Pink, this time with superstar Pawan Kalyan, who is back on the screen after more than two years. It’s a social drama with a strong message and we have just 10-15 shooting days pending. Valimai is a big action film starring Ajith Kumar, it happens to be his 60th film. That one is 50% complete,” he said.
On Amazon buying up seven Indian features that skipped their theatrical releases, Boney said he believes all forms of exhibition will co-exist.
“For producers whose films are ready and cannot wait for the unknown (when cinemas will open) OTT platforms offering to buy premiere rights for digital has come as a blessing. Streamers have grown phenomenally over the last two months. This trend to watch on demand is here to stay and will expedite cord-cutting in India,” he said.