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Coronavirus effect: After SLB's Gangubai Kathiawadi, Farhan Akhtar's Dongri to Dubai's set to be razed


In April, this paper had reported that Sanjay Leela Bhansali had decided to demolish the elaborate set of Gangubai Kathiawadi (Gangubai's brothel to be razed?, April 23). Almost a month later, Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani, producers of the ambitious underworld drama, Dongri to Dubai, are faced with a similar dilemma. The team of the Avinash Tiwary-fronted drama had recreated Dongri in Madh Island, before the project rolled in mid-February. With the set lying unused for two months and the lockdown having extended in Mumbai, the makers are considering demolishing it.

Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar

"Unfortunately, the lockdown has been extended, and [we are only weeks away] from the monsoon. So, we can't keep the set standing for too long. Once we procure the necessary permission from the authorities, we may pull it down and re-build it post the monsoons. At the moment, this looks like the most practical approach. It's a tough call, but the producers will decide soon," says director Shujaat Saudagar.

Avinash Tiwary

The web series is based on the book Dongri to Dubai: Six Decades of the Mumbai Mafia, and chronicles the rise of Dawood Ibrahim. Rebuilding the set from scratch will be an unforeseen additional expense. "Creating Dongri of the '80s and '90s was imperative because we did not want to compromise on the story or its aesthetics. It's a huge set, so creating it again will be challenging. We will try to salvage it as much as we can," he adds.

Shujaat Saudagar

The lockdown was announced just 20 days into the shoot of the ensemble drama. "We had recreated Bombay of the '80s in Vile Parle, and were shooting there. We are not worried about [retaining] that set because we have already filmed a major portion there. But, the Dongri set was untouched when the lockdown came into effect."

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