Actor-producer Ajay Devgn is all set to announce a film based on the attack on Indian soldiers by Chinese troops in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley.
According to the film’s description, it will narrate the “story of the sacrifice of 20 Indian army men who fought the Chinese army”.
It is not clear if Ajay will star in the film. The cast and other crew are under finalisation. The film will be co-produced by Ajay Devgn Films and Select Media Holdings LLP.
On June 15, 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives in a violent faceoff in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh with the Chinese forces. The Galwan clash occurred at the south bank of the river, which flows in an east-west direction, before its confluence with Shayok river.
It was the first casualties faced by the Indian Army in a clash with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army since 1975, when an Indian patrol was ambushed by Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh.
Coming up for Ajay soon is Bhuj: The Pride of India. The film also stars Sanjay Dutt, Sonakshi Sinha, Ammy Virk, and Sharad Kelkar and is written and directed by Abhishek Dudhaiya. The film is slated to premiere digitally on an OTT platform soon.
Talking about the direct-to-digital release, Ajay earlier said in a virtual press conference, “The film is based on a true story. The story is about one day and one night. It tells this story of common people who rebuilt a road overnight to help the armed forces during the 1971 war. We need to have more stories of such bravery and valour.”
Actor Akshay Kumar on Monday said theatres have the “first birth right” over movies and though he”s excited his upcoming “Laxmmi Bomb” will stream digitally, he feels sad it couldn”t release on the big screen.
The horror-comedy is set to stream on Disney+Hotstar, bypassing a theatrical release as screens remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The streamer announced its slate of seven film which will have a direct-to-digital release, including Ajay Devgn’s “Bhuj: The Pride of India”, Abhishek Bachchan starrer “The Big Bull”, and “Sadak 2”, featuring Alia Bhatt.
In a virtual press conference, Akshay said OTT release was the only wise option in the current scenario.
“To be honest, today I am excited for this platform. But yes, I’ll say that I am also sad for theatres. After all, movies are theatres first birth right. But in the current situation, everyone’s safety is of utmost priority.
“Today with theatres being shut and people watching movies on OTT platforms, if I can make my fans happy by releasing film on Disney+Hotstar— which is a big platform with a massive reach—then I am glad,” Akshay told reporters.
“Laxmmi Bomb” would be the actor’s first digital release in a career of nearly three decades.
His “Sooryavanshi” co-star and longtime friend, Devgn, said he was equally thrilled to see his patriotic drama “Bhuj: The Pride of India” release on the platform.
“First thing that you want when you make a film is that more and more people get to watch it. The base of Disney+Hotstar is so huge that when ‘Bhuj’ will come every person will try to watch the film, besides the fact that the film should be good. We have tried to make a good film,” the actor told reporters.
Adding to Akshay’s comments, Uday Shankar, President, The Walt Disney Company APAC and Chairman, Star and Disney India, said no one but only fans of artistes have the right over films.
“If anyone has birth right over films, it’s the film goers and film fans. Fans of the actors, directors who want to see these films and it is our duty to show them films.
“What’s going to happen now is that our industry will grow bigger, be more successful, more people will be able to work, we will be able to produce more films. Theatres as well digital screens will survive and grow together with films.”
Shankar was of the view that a similar debate arose when TV first started airing films, with many fearing that people would stop going to cinema halls.
“But that didn’t happen. Cinema halls grew, more people started watching films, our screens grew, the economics of our films also grew.
“The digital premiere will give industry a new lease of life. It”s going to create a completely new world. Theatres will continue to be very important because it”s an experience in itself to go there,” he added.
As theatres continue to remain shut, release of many films have been affected.
Gulabo Sitabo and Shakuntala Devi biopic were among the first films to opt for a digital release on Amazon Prime Video, a move that had irked theatre owners and exhibitors.
Shankar said the digital medium will become an essential outlet for the industry.
“People visit a cinema hall maximum five times a year but watch more number of films on their TV and mobile phones… This will become a huge outlet for our industry to showcase more work. We should see this as big leap for our film industry today,” he added.
Monday saw the grand announcement by Disney+ Hotstar that the streaming platform will be premiering seven major Bollywood films over the next few months and, within hours, the Carnival Cinemas group has come out to express “disappointment” with the trend of digital release of Bollywood films.
Without taking names, Carnival Cinemas CEO Mohan Umrotkar said in a statement: “We stand by our previous statement. It is very disappointing that the filmmakers are opting digital first route when we are just steps away from the theatrical releases with the reopening of cinema halls across the country with all the necessary precautions.”
“The economy is reopening and malls have already opened. They just need to have some more faith and patience to hold the content for the big screens, that is what it was made for.”
“During the lockdown we have participated in many surveys to realize that the audience is waiting for cinemas to reopen. For the entertainment industry to flourish everyone needs to stand by each other. And if films made for theaters release directly on streaming platforms it may hamper the overall growth of the ecosystem.”
Last month, Carnival Cinemas had issued a statement that said: “Though we are disappointed with the move of filmmakers to go straight to digital, we understand the financial burden/compulsion that one may have in these times…The situation is such that you cannot blame anyone. In this time of uncertainty some producers have decided to release their content directly on OTT. It is within their rights to decide but we will not release those movies in our theatres.”
On Monday afternoon it was announced that seven Bollywood movies will be releasing directly on an OTT platform. These are the Akshay Kumar-starrer “Laxmmi Bomb”, Ajay Devgn’s “Bhuj: The Pride Of India”, “Sadak 2” starring Alia Bhatt, Sushant Singh Rajput’s last film “Dil Bechara”, “The Big Bull” starring Abhishek Bachchan, Vidyut Jammwal-starrer “Khuda Haafiz” and “Lootcase” featuring Kunal Kemmu.
As Bollywood is slowly preparing to return to sets in a post Covid-19 world, actor Ajay Devgn is eager to report to the set of Bhuj: The Pride of India. The Abhishek Dudhaiya-directed war drama sees him in the dual role of leading man, and action director for some scenes.
In the previous schedule that was conducted only a few days before the lockdown was announced, Ajay choreographed two elaborate fight sequences featuring Sanjay Dutt and him, after South stunt coordinator Peter Hein was unavailable, reported Mid-Day.
Set during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, the ensemble drama has Ajay playing the role of Indian Air Force (IAF) squadron leader Vijay Karnik, who reconstructed the IAF airbase in Bhuj with the help of 300 local women.
A source close to the film revealed, “The sequences come at a crucial juncture in the narrative. In the first set-piece, Ajay is seen attempting hand-to-hand combat as he fights the spies sent by the Pakistani army. The other segment, an outdoor shoot, has Sanjay Dutt and Sharad Kelkar take on the baddies.
“While Peter Hein has handled the remaining action scenes, he was not available in mid-March when these pieces were to be shot. Since producers had booked the Powai studio and got the combination dates of the concerned actors,they requested Ajay to take charge. Anyone who has worked with the actor has noticed his expertise in mounting a high-octane fight scene, like father Veeru Devgan.”
The team has about a week’s shoot left, including a two-day stint with Ajay. The film’s spokesperson confirmed the news, stating, “It is true that Ajay designed the action sequence for the movie.”