The producer said he is driven by good scripts and is always in search of one.
Filmmaker Akshai Puri has recently backed some of the great films in Bollywood, including Saif Ali Khan starrer Bhoot Police and the Amitabh Bachchan-Taapsee Pannu starrer Badla. He is now gearing up to produce another psychological thriller. In a candid chat with OTTplay, Puri mentioned the struggles in making Bhoot Police and revealed his upcoming projects, his thoughts on the censorship on the OTT platforms and more. Excerpts:
Earlier, Bhoot Police was announced for a theatrical release, but later the makers decided to have its premiere on Disney+Hostar. Akshai, the film's producer, thinks it was the perfect and practical decision to release it on the OTT, considering the pandemic situation in the country. He said, "We started shooting the film during the pandemic in November 2020. By March 2021, the film was ready and we waited for a while before we decided to release Bhoot Police on OTT. A platform like Hotstar is a good choice to collaborate with due to their massive reach.”
Furthermore, he revealed that they suddenly preponed the release date from September 17 to September 10 due to the massive positive response for the trailer and songs of the film. “Hotstar gets a great reach especially during the holiday period and it was Ganesh Chaturthi weekend, so it felt like a perfect decision to take,” he added.
The cast of the film had also undergone a change. About two years ago, it was announced that Bhoot Police will feature Ali Fazal and Fatima Sana Sheikh with Saif Ali Khan. When we asked about the change in the cast, the producer told OTTplay: “Saif gave me the script to read. Earlier, it was being produced by the Fox Star studios but after reading the script, I really liked it. I bought it back from the production giant and the new casting began. I did not have the idea about who was cast before my involvement in the film.”
Now that Akshai is involved in the film, he said the audience can expect Bhoot Police to set a benchmark as far as the action and VFX are concerned. "And even though it is horror-comedy, it has elements of romance, action and drama as well,” he said. Furthermore, he added, “I’m only driven by good scripts and I’m always in search of one.”
It is the script of the film that made the producer sponsor it. "When I read the script of Bhoot Police, I thought this has not been attempted in a long time and I knew that it had to be made. And even the casting process was done in a few days due to its good script,” the filmmaker said.
When asked his thoughts on the censorship on the OTT platforms, he said, “It depends on what kind of content you make. As individuals, it’s our responsibility to make content which is right for the society, so that the censorship doesn’t need to play a big role.”
Akshai has earlier worked as an assistant director with the YRF but he said he is not ready as yet to direct a feature film and is focussing on the industry as a producer for now. He is now gearing up to back another psychological thriller after Badla. “Pavan Kriplani, who has directed Bhoot Police, is set to direct this forthcoming film,” Akshai revealed and signed off.