Producer Gaurang Doshi, who is in the UAE right now to film his web series ‘7th Sense’ led by R Madhavan, claimed that the abrupt changes in his cast happened due to clashes in filming dates.
Recently, actors Ameesha Patel, Chunky Pandey and Ronit Roy dropped out of the project.
“There’s no bad blood between Chunky or Ronit … We talk every day on the phone. All that happened is that our filming got postponed due to the current COVID-19 situation and our dates couldn’t match ... But I don’t want to comment on what happened with Ameesha,” said Doshi in Hindi over a Zoom video call on September 8.
The producer, whose credits include ‘Aankhen’, claims that such changes are commonplace in a producer’s life. A press conference has also been called in Dubai on September 9 to clear matters up.
A 150-strong crew is in Dubai right now to film his first thriller ‘7th Sense’ and actors including R Madhavan, Vijay Raaz, Rohit Roy, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Sana Saeed and Eliv Avram will be a part of a press conference in Dubai.
Earlier this week, Gulf News revealed that Patel and Roy are no longer a part of the UAE-set thriller series. But we caught up with the producer to find out what went wrong …
Excerpts from our interview with Doshi …
Actors including Ameesha Patel, Ronit Roy and Chunky Pandey exited your UAE-set web series ‘7th Sense’. What led to their departure?
In my field, there are many things that transpire between producers and actors over the course of our project. For instance, with Ronit Roy, our dates of filming and his availability didn’t match and because of COVID-19 shooting dates tend to change.
The actors at a certain age, who have families back home, are also scared for their health and their dates weren’t matching. That’s all there is to this. There’s absolutely no need to blow it out of proportion.
But wasn’t Ameesha Patel in Dubai to film your series before she returned to India hastily? What went wrong there?
Regarding Ameesha [Patel’s exit], I don’t want to comment. But I can tell you that her replacement is already here and her name will be revealed at our star-studded press conference today. But I wish there was not so much negativity about their exits.
So are these cast changes teething issues?
I wouldn’t even call these minor bumps. Often in Bollywood, we just call up actors and ask him if his dates are available. Sometimes they agree, but after four days some other engagement comes up for the actors and they may back out. Sometimes actors may have taken money from big production houses and are compelled to be a part of those projects they had earlier agreed on. There are such instances that keep happening between actors and producers.
Are there more changes to the cast?
All I can tell you know is that a big star is on his way as a replacement to those actors who are no longer a part of this project.
Are actors in Bollywood easily replaceable and interchangeable?
They are easily replaceable, but it depends on the script entirely and how strong it is and what are you making. The scale of the project also matters. An actor is also craving for good scripts, a solid web series made on a big scale. My main hero is the script.
Let’s also remember that actors aren’t keen to do multi-starrers, be it a Ronit Roy. Even the hero from ‘Pataal Lok’ [Jaideep Ahlawat] tells us that he wants to do solo hero projects. Everybody wants to be a part of solo projects. So making an ensemble web series is a big thing in today’s times when actors want to only be a part of solo hero projects. Making an ensemble is a feat in itself.
Actors are worried if their names are being used for publicity for a certain project that they are not a part of …
I understand if our dates don’t match. We are still all friends and we understand each other. Bollywood is a family. We are a small fraternity and we help each other out. Producers and actors need each other. I talk to Ronit and Chunky every day and I can phone them right now to prove our closeness. There’s no bad blood between me and the actors.