All characters in the upcoming spy thriller BellBottom, including that of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, have been dealt with maturity, says director Ranjit M Tewari. The trailer of the film, fronted by Akshay Kumar, made headlines after Lara Dutta’s look as Gandhi became viral courtesy prosthetics work by Vikram Gaikwad and his team.
BellBottom is an 1980s set film is based on a story that follows an undercover RAW agent (Kumar), who is on a mission to rescue over 200 hostages from a hijacked Indian plane.
In an interview with PTI, Tewari said the team ensured no “cinematic liberties” were taken with Gandhi’s character. “We have been extremely responsible in writing that character. We didn’t think, ‘For cinematic liberty, let’s do this.’ We were sure where we were going with that. The CBFC has also passed it without any cuts.”
The director said the film’s story required Gandhi’s presence and there was no attempt to use her for effect.
“There was no requirement for us to get into a space where unnecessary questions and problems are created. There was no requirement in the script. All characters in the film have been dealt with maturity from our end,” the director, who made his debut with the 2017 Farhan Akhtar-led Lucknow Central, added.
BellBottom, also starring Vaani Kapoor and Huma Qureshi, is slated to be released theatrically on Thursday. It is the first major Hindi film to hit the screens after cinema halls in some parts of the country resumed operations post the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tewari said his attempt with the film is to chronicle lives of spies and how they selflessly work for the country. As a fan of spy films like the Matt Damon starrer Bourne series and filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s Munich, the filmmaker was intrigued by the idea of BellBottom.
For the film, Tewari reunited with his Lucknow Central writer Aseem Arrora, along with Parveez Shaikh. The director said it was Arrora who approached him in 2019 for BellBottom after he read about a real incident in an article and a book.
“I’ve always been fascinated with the spy world since my childhood because they are the unsung heroes no one knows about. They take so much risk, there’s so much happening in the spy world. So, it was extremely interesting for me to tell this story,” Tewari said.
What BellBottom steers clear of, he added, is “manipulation” to evoke nationalist sentiments. I make films that come to my heart. So while making it, I didn’t think about chest thumping at all. There’s no manipulation. I am not manipulating you to feel a high.
“If the character is such, a moment is such that it requires a certain thing, it comes organically. If I have to show tricolour and it is required at that particular time, it will come organically.”
BellBottom marks his first collaboration with Kumar, after assisting on the superstar’s 2011 drama Patiala House.
Talking about the lead star, Tewari said Kumar’s contribution towards the film was beyond his capacity as an actor.
“Akshay sir brings in with him tremendous experience. He sat on the script several times, had multiple discussions. He’s not trying to do anything beyond the film’s world. All his efforts are just to make the script better,” he added.