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Fans and filmmakers in India are on tenterhooks as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in India, resulting in a second wave of films facing a delayed release. Here’s a look at projects affected so far.
Image Credit: Twitter.com/teamkangana and Reliance Entertainment
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Thalaivi: Kangana Ranaut’s ‘Thalaivi’ is the latest film to be postponed by its makers following the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in India. ‘Thalaivi’, which was scheduled to release in cinemas on April 23, is based on the life of late Indian politician, J. Jayalalithaa and is being counted as one of the most anticipated film releases of the year. In a media statement, the makers said they took a call for the safety of their audience. “We are extremely grateful for the tremendous response and unconditional love you’ve shown for ‘Thalaivi’ trailer. As a team, we have sacrificed a lot in making this film and thank every member of the cast and crew who supported us in this challenging but remarkable journey. Since the film has been made in multiple languages, we would like to release it in all languages on the same day. But with an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases, subsequent precautions and lockdowns, even though our film is ready for release on 23rd April, we want to extend all the support towards the government rules and regulations and have decided to postpone the release of ‘Thalaivi’,” the statement read.
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Sooryavanshi: The release of Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar’s much-anticipated ‘Sooryavanshi’ has been postponed indefinitely due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The star-studded film was initially scheduled to release on March 24 last year but was later moved to April 30 this year. However, after a meeting between the film’s director Rohit Shetty and the Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the release was deferred. “In the meeting, Mr Uddhav Thackeray appreciated Rohit Shetty as he took the brave and difficult decision of postponing ‘Sooryavanshi’ owing to the current COVID situation in the state,” said Thackeray’s team in a statement. The move also coincided with the fact that Kumar tested positive for COVID-19 the same and was shifted to a hospital in Mumbai as a precautionary measure. His co-star Katrina Kaif has also tested positive and is under quarantine at home.
Image Credit: Reliance Entertainment
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According to industry insiders, the makers are currently contemplating on a couple of options: a direct web release; take a page out of the Warner Bros. playbook for a simultaneous theatrical and streaming release; or have the film out on a web platform in 14 days after theatrical release.
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Haathi Mere Saathi: Hindi speaking fans of ‘Baahubali’ star Rana Daggubati in India lucked out when makers Eros Now deferred the release of the film in some states. The Hindi version of the film was pulled from cinemas in India, even as the Tamil and Telugu versions were released. The UAE was lucky as the Hindi version managed to get a release here. In a statement released on Twitter, Eros Now confirmed the Hindi version will be released at a later date in India.“Dear viewers, it pains us to share this news but given the COVID-19 situation in the Hindi markets, the team of ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ has decided to hold on to the release of the film. We shall keep you posted on further developments. However, we will be releasing Aranya and Kaadan in the South markets on the 26th of March,” Eros Now tweeted.
Image Credit: Eros International
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Chehre: Bollywood film ‘Chehre’, starring Emraan Hashmi, Amitabh Bachchan and Rhea Chakraborty, delayed its April 9 release due to the rising COVID-19 cases in India. A new date is yet to be finalised or revealed. Actor Hashmi tweeted the decision saying: “Due to the rising cases of COVID-19 and new guidelines for cinemas, we are unable to release our movie ‘Chehre’ on 9th April and have decided to postpone until further notice ... We have decided to bring ‘Chehre’ to audiences theatrically when the environment is more conducive for the experience. See you in cinemas very soon, until then stay safe and healthy!” ‘Chehre’ is a murder mystery directed by Rumi Jafry and Hashmi plays a business tycoon in the film. This Bollywood project is one of the many casualties stemming from the global pandemic which saw cinemas in India and filming temporarily halted to curb the outbreak.
Image Credit: twitter.com/emraanhashmi
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Bunty Aur Babli 2: The release of Bollywood movie ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’ has been postponed as well. The announcement came a little over a month after production house Yash Raj Films announced their slate of movies that would release in cinemas. ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’, which was filmed extensively in Abu Dhabi, was set to release in India on April 23. ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’ stars Saif Ali Khan, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Rani Mukerji. The cast also includes debutante Sharvari. ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’ is a sequel to the 2005 hit film ‘Bunty Aur Babli’, which starred Mukerji alongside Abhishek Bachchan and Amitabh Bachchan. Incidentally, ‘Gully Boy’ actor Chaturvedi is among a number of Indian stars who recently tested positive for COVID-19.
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Puaada: Zee Studios also announced that it will delay the release of its Punjabi film ‘Puaada’. “Due to the rising cases of COVID 19 and new guidelines for cinemas, with weekend and night closures of theatres, we have decided to postpone our movie ‘Puaada’ until further notice,” the studio said in a statement.
Image Credit: Zee Studios
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Radhe: The much-anticipated Salman Khan release planned for a May 13 or Eid Al Fitr release also hangs in the balance. The Bollywood superstar had assured cinema owners in India that his movie will release in theaters only if it was safe. With theaters in Maharashtra shut for now, it is being speculated whether the release will be put on hold or head to a streaming platform.
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Satyameva Jayate 2: The John Abraham patriotic action thriller is also slated to clash with Khan’s ‘Radhe’ on the same day, May 13. However, with cinemas currently shut in India and COVID-19 cases surging, there is a good chance the film release could also be deferred.
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