The novel coronavirus pandemic has forced theatres to shut across the nation and films are opting for digital releases instead. Disney+Hotstar hosted a virtual press meet on Monday, announcing seven new films that will be released on the OTT platform in the upcoming months. The virtual press meet was hosted by actor Varun Dhawan with Akshay Kumar, with Alia Bhatt, Ajay Devgn and Walt Disney Chairman Uday Shankar in attendance. Together, all uncovered the Disney+Hotstar Multiplex lineup.
While the Bollywood biggies spoke at length about their films at the virtual press meet, Vidyut Jammwal and Kunal Kemmu weren’t a part of the same. A brief mention of their films, Khuda Haafiz and Lootcase, was made by Varun Dhawan and Uday Shankar.
Upset over not being invited to the virtual press meet, Jammwal had earlier written on Twitter, “A BIG announcement for sure!! 7 films scheduled for release but only 5 are deemed worthy of representation. 2 films, receive no invitation or intimation. It’s a long road ahead. THE CYCLE CONTINUES (sic).”
After Jammwal’s tweet, Kunal Kemmu also took to Twitter and wrote, “Izzat aur pyaar maanga nahi kamaya jaata hai. Koi na de toh usse hum chhote nahi hote. Bas maidaan khelne ke liye barabar de do chhalaang hum bhi oonchi laga sakte hai (sic).”
Coming back to the virtual press conference, Varun began the interaction by asking every actor how they are keeping themselves busy at home. While Abhishek Bachchan and Ajay Devgn said that they were mostly busy spending time with their families and working on different projects, Alia Bhatt revealed that she is learning how to play the guitar and also completed a couple of meditation courses. The young actress also revealed that she has been trying out yoga as well. Akshay Kumar said that apart from spending time with his family, he is working on different projects such as hosting live concerts, shooting videos, attending the virtual press meet today and so on.
Uday Shankar said that people need something to look forward to in these times and it is a great opportunity for the industry to grow as well. He said, “Why not use the opportunity of pandemic to create a virtual theatre in everybody’s home? This is what we are doing.”
He added, “People can just sit and watch first-day first-show in their own time, own living rooms.”
He further added that they have a fantastic line-up of films in store which people can watch within the comfort of their homes. He then said that late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s film, Dil Bechara, will be available from July 24 and as a tribute to him, anyone can watch the film on Disney+Hotstar. “We will release these films from July to October,” said Uday Shankar.
All the actors then sounded clapperboards kept with them, while a clip revealing posters and names of all seven films to be released on Disney+Hotstar in the upcoming months was revealed.
The seven films to be released are Sushant Singh Rajput’s Dil Bechara, Akshay Kumar’s Laxmmi Bomb, Alia Bhatt’s Sadak 2, Abhishek Bachchan’s The Big Bull, Ajay Devgn’s Bhuj: The Pride of India, Vidyut Jammwal’s Khuda Haafiz and Kunal Kemmu’s Lootcase.
Talking about his film Laxmmi Bomb, in which he plays the role of a transgender, Akshay Kumar said, “It is my favourite genre, horror comedy. I had heard the story several years ago but it kept on getting delayed. Eventually, everything fell into place and here we are, credit goes to Raghava Lawrence, the film’s director, and Shabina Khan and Tusshar Kapoor, the producers.”
About his role, Akshay Kumar said, “(My role was) mentally intensive, kinda tough and the one I have never experienced before. The credit goes to the director of the film, Raghava Lawrence. He introduced me to a version of myself even I didn’t know existed. This character is unlike any other character I have played. I wanted to portray the character with full honesty, without offending any community which is why I took several retakes while shooting. Even after doing 150 films, I was excited to be on set, pushing boundaries and learning more about myself. This film taught me to be more understanding about gender equality. Be anything you want to be but just don’t be ignorant. Kindness is the key.”
Talking about Sadak 2, Alia Bhatt said the film’s journey began with three people- Mahesh Bhatt, Pooja Bhatt and Sanjay Dutt. And with Mukesh Bhatt as the producer. The actress further said that she is missing her Sadak 2 team and that this is more than just a film to her. “It is like homecoming. The emotion is on another level.”
While unveiling the poster of the film that features a road and Mount Kailash, the actress read out a message from her father, Mahesh Bhatt. The message read, “Mount Kailash, the ageless mountain, has the footprints of gods and sages. It is the abode of the god of all gods, Lord Shiva. So do we really need anything else or actors in that sacred space? Since the beginning of time humanity found its shelter in Kailash. This is a place where all search ends. Sadak 2 is the road to love.”
Talking about The Big Bull, Abhishek Bachchan said that he loves working with Ajay Devgn films and that this is his second film produced by Ajay Devgn. The first one being Bol Bachchan.
“The Big Bull is a story that is based in the late 80s and early 90s in Mumbai. It is a story of ambition,” he said.
Talking about Bhuj: The Pride of India, Ajay Devgn said, “Bhuj is a true story based on real life characters. I am playing a Squadron Leader. It is a big scale film. The story revolves around how a handful of people stop the Pakistani army when the Indian army cannot reach them in time.”
Talking about Kunal Kemmu’s Lootcase, Varun Dhawan mentioned that he used to workout with Kummu so he knows a lot about Lootcase. “The film has an amazing star cast and I have been Kemmu’s fan since Raja Hindustani. He has often inspired me with his films,” said the Judwaa 2 actor.
The actor’s of Lootcase, Kunal Kemmu and Rasika Dugal shared the film’s poster on Twitter.
About Vidyut and his film, Khuda Haafiz, Varun said, “There is nobody like Vidyut in our country who can do what he does. He is tremendously talented and has a lot of art, skill and dedication. I know he has a lot of fans. I just want to take this moment and say that I am a big fan of him as well.”
All panellists mentioned how Dil Bechara will be a special film since it pays a tribute to late actor Sushant Singh Rajput. The actor died by suicide on June 14 and Dil Bechara marks his last film ever. The film is helmed by debutant director Mukesh Chhabra and will be Sanjana Sanghi’s acting debut.