OTT platforms are the future, says Gaurang Doshi who will shoot two web series in the UAE
The Bollywood producer is thankful to be able to shoot in this 'beautiful country' and says all safety regulations regarding Covid-19 will be strictly adhered to.
Mumbai-based Bollywood producer Gaurang Doshi - who produced Amitabh Bachchan hits Aankhen (2002) and Deewar (2004), is all set to shoot two new exciting web series in UAE.
7th Sense and Line of Fire, he says, will engage audiences in a 'very different' way from anything they have seen so far.
Speaking to City Times about why he decided to shoot in UAE, Gaurang said, "UAE is a beautiful country; wherever you keep your camera you get an amazing frame. We will be shooting mostly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which have superb structures and fantastic views. Moreover, we are getting support from Emirati businessman Suhail Mohd. Al Zarooni who is helping us organize the shooting and permissions, so obviously that's a big blessing."
Working safely in Covid-19 times
The UAE is undoubtedly at the forefront of tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, but while restrictions have been relaxed, many rules and regulations are still in place. We asked Gaurang what special precautions would be in place once shooting begins.
"We are taking a whole lot of measures to ensure that the cast and crew remains safe throughout the shoot. As such we will be following all the safety measures put in place by the government and will work as per the rules and regulations of the country. For instance, we will be isolating the hotel locations, shooting location will be cordoned off.
"Also, before and after the cast and crew arrives, they will be tested for Covid-19. And obviously, once we have ensured that the entire team is Covid-free - the whole unit will stay in an isolated place. There won't be any mingling with outsiders hence ensuring the arrangement is safe."
Gaurang revealed he is working on getting the permissions in place for all the shooting locations, saying, "We aim to start shooting beginning of August. However, the situation with regards to the pandemic would also play its role."
On whether any local talent would be recruited for the new series, Gaurang said, "I have already taken UAE talent Sajjad Delafrooz, who acted in Special Ops. And yes, there will be about 15 characters from UAE, who we are scouting right now. The auditions are ongoing on WhatsApp."
'OTT platforms are the future'
Elaborating more on both series, Gaurang said, "7th Sense is a crime thriller/murder mystery being directed by Karan Darra and the story and screenplay are by Gibran Noorani. It features actors R Madhavan, Ronit Roy, Chunky Pandey, among others. Shooting for Seasons 1 and 2 would be completed in about 140 days with most of the action happening in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It's a thriller along the lines of (the works of) Agatha Christie and James Hadley Chase but executed in a very different fashion.
"The prep work for espionage thriller, Line of Fire (which is being directed by Shayak Roy), would also begin simultaneously. It will have two seasons and boasts stars like Prakash Raj, Jimmy Shergill and Tannishtha Chatterjee, among others.
As a producer of films, what was it like to jump to a web series? Will OTT eventually replace the cinematic experience?
"OTT platforms are getting bigger and are the future; they offer the convenience of watching your favourite shows and movies at a convenient time and on a device of your choice. However, to say that they would replace cinema would not be right. Cinema has its own appeal and feel, it is a complete package and an experience - your weekend outing with family.
"Once the pandemic is over the theaters will be back in action because one cannot sit home all the time, you certainly require other avenues of entertainment. The joy of watching big films on a big screen is surely something one cannot miss. People will continue watching OTT when they are home. And as far as I am concerned, I would make both web series as well as films."