Has the ghost of Bang Bang come back to haunt the second installment in the franchise, Reloaded?
A report in the Mumbai Mirror, dated 14 September, stated that Reloaded — which stars Sidharth Malhotra and Jacqueline Fernandez — was being shot in the Worli village area in Mumbai.
The important point in the report is that the film's team was originally supposed to be shooting in Malaysia. When they did not receive the subsidies they were counting on, and then shifted the location to Thailand.
Finally, filming was initiated in Mumbai itself.
Is the studio baulking at paying more than they strictly need to, to have the film made?
Is Reloaded — which is directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK — suffering from the legacy of its predecessor, Bang Bang?
Bang Bang, starring Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif, and directed by Siddharh Anand was the official remake of the Tom Cruise starrer Knight and Day. At the time of its making, Fox Star Studios had admitted that it was among the most expensive films to be made in India — media reports pegged the complete cost of production between rs 120-150 crore.
Not only did the film have extensive shoots in foreign locales like Greece, Prague, Abu Dhabi and wherehaveyou, it also had expensively mounted action sequences — and the very fat paycheques of its stars. Hrithik Roshan was believed to have hiked his fee by 50 percent before he started work on Bang Bang, and cost Fox Star some Rs 30 crore to come on board.
Then, production costs on the film spiralled as unforeseen delays (including Hrithik's health scare — the actor developed a clot in his brain and required surgery for it) pushed its completion back substantially.
Fox Star also invested a substantial amount in promoting the film — perhaps because it needed a big hit after Bullett Raja and Humshakals had flopped.
Bang Bang made more than 100 crore in just four days at the box office. Its final worldwide earnings are believed to be in the range of Rs 180 crore.
However, considering the cost of making the film, how much of a profit Fox Star made despite the big earnings is a bit questionable.
In any case, it seems like the studio has learnt its lesson and is keeping costs lower with its follow up to Bang Bang. For one, it has settled for far less pricey stars (Sidharth Malhotra's fee per film was around Rs 75 lakhs back in 2014, even if the actor has raised it in the time since, it is unlikely that he is charging his producers more than Rs 2.5 crores).
In Raj and DK, they've chosen a director duo that is know to take low key projects (Shor In The City, Go Goa Gone) and turn them into sleeper hits. And although Reloaded has had an extended overseas shoot (in Miami), the producers have cut costs by bringing the team back to Mumbai for shooting the high-octane action sequences that are supposed to be the centrepiece of the franchise.
While the film's spokespersons have refused to comment on the shake-up in terms of locations, Mumbai Mirror reports that the Thailand shoot may still be on the cards.
So will Reloaded suffer from Bang Bang's legacy — or benefit from it? Watch this space.