Karan Johar opens up on the monumental loss film industry is going through at COVID pandemic times. Takht is a historical drama based on the Mughal Era and revolves around the power struggle between Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s son Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb. The film will release on December 24, 2021.
Filmmaker Karan Johar's upcoming period drama Takht has become one of the highly anticipated and trending films of recent times.
With a stellar cast including Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Ranveer Singh, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Anil Kapoor, Janhvi Kapoor and Bhumi Pednekar, the Mughal era drama has grabbed eyeballs of avid cinema watchers. After many delays, the film was ready to go on floors, but unfortunately, owing to the Coronavirus shutdown, it has been pushed ahead once again. Talking about the project and the delay due to the ongoing crisis with an eminent entertainment journalist, Karan told that the first day of the filming was to take place on April 24 with Vicky and Bhumi. However, due to the sudden lockdown and global spread of COVID-19, the set construction had to be stopped. The ace filmmaker went on to inform that the team sat together for readings and look tests too earlier in March.
"We were beginning our shoot on April 24 and for that, we had to put up sets in March, which we had to completely stop as things were going South.
We had to contain every situation at that point of time. We were all set to shoot from April 24 with Vicky and Bhumi. Ranveer was joining in on May 1 with Kareena, Anil and Janhvi. Alia was supposed to begin towards the end of May and in June. The entire cast was coming together, we were reading, we had done the look test on March 9 with the three men. I wanted to see Anil and Ranveer and Vicky in one frame. Then we were shooting with the girls the week after and then everything just got cancelled," Karan told.
The filmmaker further added that he will not cry over the fact that the shoot has stalled but has been tightening the story and already has 12 drafts of the script.
He said that in the current scenario, films going on floors and their release dates aren't important. "I have been taking the time to work on my script. I have already made 12 drafts. I tightened it further. I see a lot of conjecture around the film which is unnecessary. Nobody knows what’s going to happen with any feature film. We have films which are ready to release but haven’t been able to. Shoots are stalled and honestly, none of us as filmmakers can be all about ourselves now. There is a larger cause and concern. I can’t be like cry baby cry about my films. Our concerns are very minimal compared to those who are going through a lot in the country. I think our empathy levels have to be higher and selfish levels to be way lower,"
Italy and Spain are worst hit by Coronavirus, Karan, who was gearing up to shoot 60% of Takht there, will be scouting for new locations.
Speaking about the same, the producer said the team had locked a palace in Florence which has beautiful Mughal architecture and were to shoot there for 25 days. He further revealed that the team recced for Takht for two years and the pre-production has been going on for 2 and a half years now. "Two of our major locations for Takht were Italy and Spain. We had a palace in Florence where we were planning to shoot for 25 days, had beautiful Mughal architecture. We were shooting in Italy at Bari and Seville. We had recced this for two years. The pre-production on Takht has been going on for 2-and-a-half years," Karan added.
During the conversation, Karan said it is unfair to discuss release dates when the world is battling a pandemic like Coronavirus.
With multiple releases in the pipeline, the filmmaker told that his projects aren't even one of the top 3000 priorities right now. "It upsets me when people call and ask me when is this film releasing. How can we sit like this and care about when a film will release and go on floors. That is really not one of the top 3000 priorities right now. Currently, all industries are hit and unfortunately, it isn’t a national situation but a pandemic and it is going to impact the economy of the world. There is nothing we can do to salvage right now about the damage. Speaking specifically about the media and entertainment industry in India, there is going to be a massive hit. We don’t know about the films that are made and we have Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi which was up for the release but now, we don’t have a date. I had another release in April, Gunjan Saxena with Janhvi Kapoor and we don’t know about its release date too. At my end I can tell that there are tumultuous situations with films on the floor, there are seven of them on release board now. All these films have been stalled only at Dharma Productions. Now at every studio, production house, there are multiple films and diverse situations. We yet don’t know when things will get back to normalcy and what the level of footfalls will be at the cinema. Also, there are extreme articles making the rounds that is digital the future, but people have to shoot for digital too. I can’t say in figures, but the loss is monumental," Karan concluded.