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After Bunty Aur Babli 2 and Chehre, Sooryavanshi is latest film to be postponed due to rising cases of coronavirus

The Rohit Shetty action extravaganza has been put on hold for more than a year. It was scheduled to arrive in theatres on 30 April.

Suyog Zore

There seems to be no respite in sight for the Hindi film industry, which has been bedevilled by the COVID-19 pandemic for months, as several filmmakers have abandoned all hope and postponed the release of their projects. Given the rapid rise in coronavirus cases and a recently announced partial lockdown in Maharashtra, things are looking bleak for producers whose films were slated to arrive in cinema halls in the coming weeks.

Amid the surging cases and clampdowns, many filmmakers have already withdrawn their films’ release dates. After Amitabh Bachchan and Emraan Hashmi's Chehre, which was slated to be released on 9 April, and Bunty Aur Babli 2, which was scheduled to hit the screens on 23 April, the Akshay Kumar-starrer Sooryavanshi has been put on ice. 

The long-delayed Rohit Shetty action extravaganza was scheduled to arrive in theatres on 30 April 2021.

A statement for the makers read, "The honourable chief minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray, had a discussion with director Rohit Shetty yesterday. In the meeting, Thackeray appreciated Shetty as he took the brave and difficult decision of postponing Sooryavanshi owing to the current COVID situation in the state."

As a matter of fact, the film's leading man was admitted to a hospital on Monday as a precautionary measure after contracting the virus while popular artistes Bhumi Pednekar and Vicky Kaushal have also tested positive for it.

With the horror-comedy Roohi and Sanjay Gupta's gangster drama, Mumbai Saga, registering decent collections at the box office recently, It seemed like things were finally getting back on track for the beleaguered film industry but then the second wave of the pandemic unexpectedly reared its ugly head, compelling the Maharashtra government to announce a night curfew on weekdays and a complete lockdown on weekends.

Going by the steady increase in cases every day, it is extremely likely that we will soon hear about more such postponements, especially of big films such as Radhe, Thalaivi and Satyamev Jayate 2.

The first film to be affected by the second wave was the Rana Duggubati-starrer Haathi Mere Sathi. The family film was slated to hit the screens on 26 March, but its makers postponed it due to the rising COVID cases, particularly in Mumbai. However, its Telugu and Tamil versions, Aranya and Kaadan, opened in cinemas on the designated date. 

The virus has also proven to be the bane of regional film industries. The release of the Punjabi rom-com Puaada, starring Ammy Virk and Sonam Bajwa, which was slated for 2 April had to be postponed again. Meanwhile, the release dates of the two highly anticipated Marathi films, Jhimma and Zombivli, have also been pushed. The films were expected to be released on 23 April and 30 April respectively.

Although cinema halls opened across the country in October last year, not many new films were released in the first few months. And those which did hit the screens received a lukewarm response from audiences. Finally, the year-long box office draught of the Hindi film industry came to an end with the release of Roohi, the relative success of which prompted several filmmakers to announce the release dates of their anticipated projects, and the filmi calendar was packed for a few weeks with big-budget films.

Maharashtra Cabinet minister Nawab Malik on Monday said a night curfew would be put in place across the state from 8 pm to 7 am. On Sunday alone, India recorded over 1 lakh cases, its highest daily count. Of these, Maharashtra accounted for 57,000 cases.

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