In June, Sanjay Gupta had told mid-day that he planned to film the last leg of Mumbai Saga from July 15 at Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad. The director had not only charted out the schedule but also hand-picked a crew of 30, including lead actors John Abraham and Emraan Hashmi, for the shoot. However, with most cities across India reporting a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases in the past month, Gupta has had to take the tough decision of calling off the Hyderabad stint.
Emraan Hashmi in Mumbai Saga
The director informs that he took the call after a discussion with his leading men and the co-producer during a work trip to Mumbai last week. “The country recorded 30,000 cases in a single day. Moreover, the World Health Organisation’s [WHO] statement about the possibility of the virus being airborne was alarming. It stated that the virus can remain in the air in crowded closed spaces. Of the 14-day shoot that I had planned, we were to film at three indoor sets for 10 days. That would have posed a risk. We wanted to shoot in Hyderabad, but now it’s as unsafe as Mumbai. So, we might as well do it in our city,” says Gupta from his Khandala home.
Now, the filmmaker hopes to revisit the universe of the crime saga by August 15, but admits the schedule could be pushed further. “John, Emraan and the rest of us were kicked about shooting [in Hyderabad], but we can’t do so by putting everyone’s health at risk. John was to finish the pending work on Mumbai Saga before moving on to his next. But with cases on the rise, we decided it would be best to take stock of the situation after a month. We will try to procure permission to shoot from August 15, and are eyeing three studios — Mehboob, Essel and Film City. [Given the current situation] the dates are tentative.”