Dubai back in action: First Bollywood production to film in city post-Covid receives warm welcome

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Cast and crew of 7th Sense at a press conference at Palazzo Versace Dubai, Jaddaf Waterfront

Cast and crew express their joy during first Bollywood press conference to be held in the city in nearly seven months


Michael Gomes

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Published: Wed 9 Sep 2020, 8:38 PM

Last updated: Sun 13 Sep 2020, 5:32 PM

Bollywood film producer Gaurang Doshi and the star-studded cast of his Hindi web show 7th Sense are grateful for not only being the first Bollywood production to be allowed to film in Dubai, but also getting together to interact with the media at the first Bollywood press conference to be held in the city in nearly seven months.  

"First of all, I want to thank the crew and other members of the team who have supported me and have come out here. I also want to thank the authorities for all the support that my production has been offered," said Doshi, addressing the media at Palazzo Versace Dubai, on Wednesday afternoon.

The producer is glad that the shooting is well underway and the cast and crew have been following the mandatory safety protocols.

"All my actors who are here (in Dubai) are safe and sound. We are taking all the necessary measures and precautions, and every member of the cast and crew are undergoing a Covid swab test once a week. I thank the UAE Government and Dubai Film and TV Commission for their support," he added.

Lead actor R Madhavan expressed his excitement to return to work. "I'm overwhelmed (to start shooting). I'm speaking for a lot of people. I want to express my gratitude and want to say how grateful I am to be working on a project after nearly 7-8 months. We had almost forgotten what it was to be on a film set, put on make-up and face the camera. It's been a huge relief for all of us to come to Dubai and shoot for 7th Sense. We feel a sense of freedom to know that some normalcy is returning during the pandemic, but of course safety is a high priority for us and we've been strictly following the guidelines," said the veteran star.

Explaining further how much it means to be back to work Madhavan, who played a vital role in the hit web series Breathe, said. "I know it's a slightly sensitive issue, but I want to say that in the past 7-8 months our income had stopped. Ever since the pandemic started we've not been earning. As part of the film fraternity, I know how difficult it is and what it means for people to sustain and support so many livelihoods. So I am personally grateful to return to work."

Dubai is among the first few countries in the world to allow a film crew comprising over 100 members to start shooting informed Madhavan. "Dubai has set an example (to the rest of the world) by allowing us to shoot a show on such a large scale. There have been shootings in other parts of the world but hats off to Dubai and Gaurav and his team who made it possible for such a huge ensemble to get together during Covid times."

"Initially, we were cynical when we were told about the project. We didn't believe it would be possible (to shoot the show). But despite all our fears, Gaurav and his team managed to pull the rabbit out of the hat and bring us all down to Dubai to shoot 7th Sense. I'm looking forward to completing this project and proving to people that it's possible to film during Covid," added the actor.

Actor Rohit Roy was all praise for Dubai as well. "It is a pleasure to be in Dubai. I feel safer here than anywhere else. You know the good thing about this place is that people here are sticklers for safety, life is going on smoothly and this gives us the confidence to shoot in the city."

While it would take another 60 days to complete the filming, post -production is expected to take two months, with the show set to be out by December 2020. Doshi is however yet to decide on which OTT platform to screen 7th Sense.

"We'll think about that only after the project is fully completed. These days, there's a dearth of content, so we have a lot of choices in terms of which platform to run our show on."

7th Sense is being shot across some of Dubai's iconic locations. "Yes we're filming in some of the popular spots like the Dubai Opera, The World Islands, Al Seef Waterfront and the Underwater Villas, to name a few locations," informed director Karan Darra.

The press conference was also attended by Madhu Bhandari, Amey D. Nargolkar and Munir Awan (associate producers), and actors Virwani, Aashim Gulati, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Sana Saeed, Ahsaas Channa, Elli AvrRam, Subroto Dutta, Mahesh Balraj, and Manuj Sharma.

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