The lockdown may have put the brakes on Taapsee Pannu’s prep to transform into Mithali Raj on screen, but the pre-production work on Shabaash Mithu has been underway. Even as they are waiting for the international travel restrictions to be lifted, the makers of the biopic on the Indian women’s cricket team skipper are laying the groundwork for an elaborate schedule in London.
Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom 18 Studios, says, “We have to figure out when it will be possible to shoot in the UK. At the moment, we are zeroing in on the venues while mapping the dates to suit all parties involved. Location hunting has been quite a challenge as recce is out of the question and we have to rely on pictures to determine if a venue is suitable for shooting. As a producer, I am jittery taking a call on something that we haven’t seen.”
The producer emphasises the lockdown has had little effect on the film’s progress, with the casting director conducting auditions online. “Pre-production has changed form, but work on the film has continued through these months. We are in the early stages of casting and are determining the ensemble cast. Rahul [Dholakia, director] and his team are polishing the screenplay, and the music is being composed.”
Though Ranveer Singh’s cricket drama 83 has the first-mover advantage due to its Christmas release, the producer believes Raj’s journey is fairly unknown and hence, will appeal to the audience. “As a cricket-crazy nation, we remember every story about the cricketing heroes, but have ignored the women in blue who are as accomplished in the profession. That irony presents a great opportunity from a storytelling perspective,” concludes Andhare.