Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s conviction in a rape case on August 25 triggered widespread violence and arson in Punjab and Haryana, claiming over 30 lives and leaving over 250 injured. Bollywood too fell victim to the violence — the shoot of Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal-starer ‘Raazi’, which was underway in Patiala, ground to a halt over the weekend.
Director Meghna Gulzar was filming a sequence with Alia Bhatt and Kaushal on Friday afternoon when news of arson reached the unit. Understanding the gravity of the situation, the director instantly called for pack-up.
Says a source, “Given the situation, Meghna realized that it would be unsafe to shoot in Patiala. The team was required to shoot across several locations in the city, and moving around with the stars and equipment was a risky proposition. Mobile and internet services were also stopped, so communication was another issue among the unit.”
Hours after the conviction and the vandalism that followed, curfew was imposed in Patiala and other parts of Punjab. “The cast and crew stayed put at the hotel over the weekend. They did not want any untoward incidents to unfold considering the high alert in the state,” adds the source.
It is learned that Gulzar and the producers had a meeting late last night, to decide on when they would resume the shoot. The source adds, “They were discussing how it would be in everyone’s best interests to put off the shoot till Monday. There is a possibility of things spiraling out of control after the sentencing.” The hearing for the quantum of punishment to the Dera chief is scheduled for today.
The Patiala leg of the shoot, which kick-started last week, is supposed to be wrapped up by September 10, followed by another schedule in Chandigarh. The drama, based on Harinder Sikka’s novel Calling Sehmat, went on floors last month in Mumbai.