Directed by Ranjit M Tewari and written by Aseem Arrora and Parveez Shaikh, ‘Bellbottom’ is a spy thriller featuring Akshay Kumar and was shot extensively in Scotland. Produced by Jackky Bhagnani and Deepshikha Deshmukh for Pooja Entertainment, it has become the first film to complete shooting during the pandemic.
Shooting in the thick of a global pandemic sounds daunting but Lara Dutta recounts how the challenges during this unusual time were dealt with professionalism and personal attention.
She says, “Initially, it was normal to feel a little anxious considering that Covid-19 cases are rising rapidly in India. But I felt immediate reassurance and confidence when I saw the many protocols in place and how correctly things were being handled. Ours was the first film to be shot after the lockdown but despite the nervousness, we were all eager to get back to work. We were all taken in a chartered fight to Scotland to retain and contain the safety bubble. On landing, we were tested again and sent into a two week quarantine. It did not however feel that we were imprisoned as we had the company of each other. Akshay and Deepshikha had brought their kids and so had I. It was like being with an extended family and since all of us had tested negative, we spent time with each other and kept the circle tight and safe for each other and especially the children. So this gave me a sense of security.”
About the thrill of returning to work, she says, “When shooting finally began, I was the first actor on the sets. To be part of the first film to be shot after the lockdown felt hugely gratifying. I felt grateful to be on a set where every single precaution possible was being taken, sanitisation was meticulous and the cast and crew were checked everyday. Everything was secure, right from the food delivery on sets to the drivers who took us to and fro. Yes, we had to remove our masks during scenes but because we felt safe in a strictly regulated environment, we just wanted to do our job to the best of our abilities. “
When asked, what it was like to shoot in this kind of an environment, Lara said, “It was a surreal experience and I hope this is not going to be the new normal. I felt immense gratitude towards Pooja Entertainment and every member of the crew for taking such good care of us. We have done some good work and am excited to see how the film turns out.”