With months of meticulous planning behind them, Pooja Entertainment is Bollywood’s first production house off the block to shoot a complete schedule of its big-budget spy thriller Bellbottom with Akshay Kumar in the lead.
Bellbottom, a retro drama with Akshay Kumar, Vaani Kapoor, Huma Qureshi and Lara Dutta was announced late last year. Pooja Entertainment took the decision to shoot a start to finish stint keeping the global health crisis in mind.
Now, using the latest technology, the film team is all set for an extended shoot beginning soon. Besides medical-grade masks and face shields, after consulting medical experts, the production house is making it mandatory for all cast and crew to wear a wrist watch that will constantly monitor their oxygen levels, body temperature, blood pressure, stress levels and pulse. A centralized dashboard will constantly record the parameters of the entire unit and keep a check for any changes in readings.
Commenting on this, Jackky Bhagnani says that as a producer, the health of his unit is of utmost importance. “I am truly grateful to Akshay Sir without whom this film and this shoot would have been impossible. He is a rock and our guiding light. It is only after every department and every individual was assured of the measures taken that we are embarking on this journey. From a doctor on the set at all times to keeping the entire set disinfected at all times, safety first is our mantra. It’s a challenge but it makes Bellbottom even more special for all of us.”
Actor Akshay Kumar says, “The new normal has made us realise a different way of working that none of us could have imagined. As much as I’m happy to be back on the sets, it’s also important for us to take care of everything around us. Pooja Entertainment has laid down a safety plan for our shooting schedule abroad. We hope these measures help us accomplish a smooth and safe shoot.”
Bellbottom’s on-set guidelines will also include maintaining social distancing of no less than 6 feet wherever possible; hand sanitizing stations will be made available throughout the set area; all surface areas and equipment to be disinfected frequently using alcohol-based sanitizers before and after every shoot.
Bellbottom Director Ranjit M Tewari adds, “It is going to be a challenging shoot given the circumstances, but I am extremely confident of the health and safety protocols put in place by Pooja Entertainment. Every member of the Bellbottom family is exhilarated and geared up to kick start work.”
Producer Deepshikha Deshmukh says, “Medical waste is as big an issue and we are taking all possible steps to make sure we are an environmentally conscious film unit. We are immensely grateful towards the entire unit for trusting us to look after them. Our film unit is like our family and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Production Designers Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty say, “It is a challenging time to shoot a film no doubt, but we look at it as a creative challenge – to manage all that is happening around us, keep all protocols in place and despite that help create a special feel for this film.”
Sushant – head of spot boy team for Bellbottom says, “Sab spot boys aur technical staff ko saare processes samjha diye gaye hain. Hum sab ko samjhaya gaya hai ki set par jane se pehle aur set per kya kya precaution lena hai. Sab log kaam per jane kay liye utsuk hain.”
While the actors are excited to resume shooting, they are also relieved that their health is in safe hands. The Bellbottom team is expected to take off any time soon.
Pooja Entertainment presents in association with Emmay Entertainment ‘Bellbottom’ Produced by Vashu Bhagnani, Jackky Bhagnani, Deepshikha Deshmukh, Monisha Advani, Madhu Bhojwani and Nikkhil Advani. Bellbottom written by Aseem Arrora & Parveez Shaikh is set to release on 2nd April, 2021.