EXCLUSIVE: Anees Bazmee on Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 & the challenges posed by COVID: ‘We held together as a team’
After churning out comedies like No Entry, Welcome, Singh Is King, and Mubarakan to name a few, Anees Bazmee teamed up with Kartik Aaryan, Tabu and Kiara Advani for his first ever horror comedy, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2. The film went on floors in October 2019, however, after a 43 day schedule, the shoot was halted due to the COVID scare. After over 2 years of being under production, the makers finally wrapped up shooting recently and the director finally feels relieved. “We had planned to complete the shoot in four to five months, but due to the pandemic, the schedule stretched for almost two years. We had got dates of all our actors to finish the film in four months, but everything went for a toss,” says Anees.
The director informs that following the outbreak of Covid in March 2020, the team of Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 resumed shoot after a 13-month break and that was halted after some casualties on the set. “We finally resumed shooting, but then, we had some cases on our set, which in turn resulted in everything coming to a standstill. Soon after, the second wave hit us and we had to break our set. Finally, the film went back on track and here we are, god-willing, ready to release it in March,” Anees informs.
The stress to complete the film aside, Bazmee was constantly flooded with calls from the media about the film being shelved. “There was a talk in the market that Tabu has left the film, which was so heartbreaking to read. If I was a new director, I would have been disturbed by all the reports. But I have seen a lot in my life and hence, eventually ended up laughing at those articles. Why would an actor leave a film in the middle, specifically when he has liked our script? I maintained a dignified silence and moved on with work. We have invested all our energies in making a beautiful film and now, we wait for the audience to watch it,” Anees sighs.
The filmmaker is grateful to his producers, Bhushan Kumar and Murad Khetani, as also his entire cast for holding back together in tough times. “We held together as a team and completed the entire shoot. Film is currently in post production stage, and if things are fine, will release in March,” he promises.
How important is Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 for Anees Bazmee, given that he explores a new genre this time around? “Every single film is important as we all work hard to provide entertainment to the audience. Bhool Bhulaiyaa is special because it’s my first horror comedy, so this time, I am also trying to scare people. I have treated the subject in a new way. The original was a psychological thriller with comedy, this one is a proper horror comedy. The challenge is to remind people of the first part, yet provide a unique experience,” he answers.
The director signs off saying that he isn’t taking pressure, and is rather happy with the fact the audience is expecting entertainment from Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2. “I have a body of work ranging from No Entry, Welcome, Singh Is King, Deewangee, Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha, so it’s good for the audience to expect something from my film. I would be scared if they didn't expect anything from my films. This is also a sequel to something as loved as Bhool Bhulaiyaa, so the expectations will be even more,” he concludes.