Now that the Maharashtra government has given the green light to shoot shows and movies, makers are getting ready to begin production. However, shooting still lies in the distant future as far as producer Ronnie Lahiri and his team are concerned. Since Gulabo Sitabo is ready for its OTT release (it will stream on Amazon Prime Video from June 12) and the filming of Sardar Udham Singh has already been completed, the only thing the producer now wants to focus his energies on is the post-production of the Vicky Kaushal-starrer.
In a conversation with indianexpress.com, Lahiri said, “We are taking the requisite precautions stated by the Maharashtra government. We already have an edit suite in our office, so there will be two people working on the edit of the film which will take about 2-3 months. They will be working in shifts, and the office space will be duly sanitized. Our editors will also be taking the necessary precautions, but since there are only two people, it shouldn’t be much of a problem to manage things.”
But does he have a plan in place regarding the filming process? How will he shoot movies amid the pandemic?
Ronnie Lahiri confessed that he hasn’t chalked out the details yet. He said, “I don’t have the entire thing chalked out. We will see how things are done when the shooting process actually begins. As far as Sardar Udham Singh is concerned, we don’t have any filming left to do. We just want to focus on post-production.”
In this new world, Bollywood is becoming braver. At least in the choices that it makes. Lahiri’s production venture Gulabo Sitabo and a few other movies have taken the OTT route. But what does the future look like for Sardar Udham Singh?
The producer said, “We earlier had an October release, but we had then moved it to January. But I don’t think that is going to be possible now, given the situation. We have already lost over two months to this pandemic. And there is a lot of things that need to be taken into account once the actual shoot stops and the post-production work begins. The editing alone would take us about close to three months, and then we will have to talk to the visual effects team. So a January release seems unlikely. In fact, we don’t have a clear release date in mind as of now.”
But with the audience demanding more content and no clear reopening of theaters in sight, the digital content’s star is on the rise. After all, the only way people are able to view new movies and shows is via a digital platform. But that doesn’t mean the culture of cinema-going is dead. At least, that is what Ronnie Lahiri thinks.
The producer said, “OTT platforms and cinema halls are going to co-exist. Yes, the demand for content is more than ever now. But that is also because during this unfortunate, unprecedented time, people want to be entertained more than anything else. But whatever the future holds, one thing is certain — cinema is never going to die. People evolve, but some things remain the same. We had the era of VCRs, DVDs and the likes, but people went to cinema halls even then, and they will continue to do that in the future too.”
Ronnie Lahiri also shed some light on how he and his team, including director Shoojit Sircar and writer Juhi Chaturvedi, finally decided to release Gulabo Sitabo online.
“We chose to release Gulabo Sitabo because our film was ready and there was the matter of finances. And with so much uncertainty looming, we didn’t want to sit on a finished project. Even now we don’t know exactly when cinema halls would open, so we collectively did what seemed right at the time,” Lahiri concluded.