Haathi Mere Saathi
Haathi Mere Saathi Image Credit: Eros International

Hindi speaking fans of ‘Baahubali’ star Rana Daggubati may have to wait a while to catch their favourite actor on screen in India, but the UAE will face no such problem as ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ readies for release this week.

UAE distributor Al Nisr Cinema Film Company has confirmed with Gulf News that the Hindi version of the action thriller will have a release here on March 25 despite the producers pulling it from theatres in India over rising COVID-19 cases.

In a statement released on Twitter, Eros Now confirmed the Hindi version will be released at a later date, but the Telugu and Tamil language films will release this week as scheduled.

“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 Interna tional tweeted.

The film was originally expected to hit screens in April last year but was postponed due to the lockdown in India. ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ has been directed by Prabhu Solomon and also stars Pulkit Samrat, Shriya Pilgaonkar and Zoya Hussain.

While Daggubati features in all the three films, Samrat’s character will be played by South Indian actor Vishnu Vishal in the Tamil and Telugu versions.

The movie is reportedly inspired by true events and is a tribute to 1971 classic film ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ — starring Rajesh Khanna and Tanuja.

Haathi Mere Saathi
Haathi Mere Saathi Image Credit: Supplied

Over the last few days, Bollywood stars have been lending their star power to the fight against COVID-19, with Dharmendra, Vicky Kaushal and Alia Bhatt appealing to fans to mask up even as cases rise in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

On March 20, Kaushal shared a picture post a workout session where he is seen wearing a face mask. The ‘Raazi’ star completed his Instagram post with a short emoticon message of folded hands and a mask, while requesting his fans to stay safe amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Bhatt, who has already had a close brush with the coronavirus, sent out a public appeal on social media for people in Maharashtra to follow safety measures as the Indian state deals with a surge in COVID-19 numbers.

Bhatt’s appeal through her Instagram Stories comes as Maharashtra grappled with a spike in cases on Thursday, recording 25,883 new cases in a day, which is the highest daily count in the state since the pandemic hit. The highest number last year in the state, which is home to the city of Mumbai and the Bollywood film industry, was 24,886 in September.

Ranbir and Alia-1581081628848
Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Neetu Kapoor Image Credit: ANI

The Bollywood actress has had a close encounter with the virus already with her actor-boyfriend Ranbir Kapoor testing positive for COVID-19 last week. The same day, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who is the director of Bhatt’s film ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ also reportedly tested positive. Following both incidents, the actress went into isolation until her PCR test came back as negative. Earlier, Kapoor’s mother, actress Neetu Singh Kapoor also faced her battle with virus.

Meanwhile, Bollywood actor Kartik Aaryan is the latest celebrity to test positive for the virus as he confirmed the news on March 22 on his Instagram. In the past two weeks, actor-filmmaker Satish Kaushik, ‘Gully Boy’ star Siddhant Chaturvedi, Ashish Vidhyarthi, Manoj Bajpayee have all tested positive for the coronavirus.