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Boney Kapoor admits financial stress after cyclone Tauktae destroyed Maidaan set

The production of the biopic has been repeatedly set back by the continuing pandemic crisis and now the damage wrought by the storm.

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Our Correspondent

Producer Boney Kapoor has admitted that the production of Maidaan, starring Ajay Devgn, has been affected by the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns and the damage wrought by cyclone Tauktae earlier this month.

In an interview, Kapoor said the film's set will have to be rebuilt from scratch after the cyclone caused "70–80%" damage.

Speaking to the Hindustan Times newspaper, he said, "What I am going through is horrible. I don’t want to be reminded of it. If I think about the pressure or feelings or loss, I will start crying. If I think about the budget overshooting and expenses piling up, I might go into depression. Mera dil hi nahin kar raha ke set dekhun abhi [I don’t even want to look at the set now]."

While no lives were lost, the producer said the damage to the set will worsen the film's time and cost overruns.

He also revealed that more than 50% of the film's shooting has been completed. In February 2021, the makers had revealed that the final schedule was set to get underway.

Directed by Amit Ravindernath Sharma, Maidaan, based on the life of independent India's first national football coach Syed Abdul Rahim, was announced in 2019 and scheduled for release in December 2020.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the makers to postpone the release first to 11 August 2021 and then again to 15 October 2021.

Now, the second wave of the pandemic and the lockdown in Maharashtra has delayed the film further. In addition, director Sharma tested positive for COVID-19 in March.

In the interview, Kapoor further revealed that "last year when we dismantled the set, materials could be reused, but after destruction in a cyclone, hardly anything is salvageable. I had eight make-up rooms, 26 bathrooms, different sets, but most of it is gone. We had an eight-camera set-up and specialized equipment to capture players while playing."

The financial stress has given rise to reports that Kapoor may be looking at a simultaneous or direct-to-OTT release for the film. The makers responded by releasing a statement that their attention is currently focused on ''completing the film".

Maidaan also features Priyamani, Gajraj Rao and Rudranil Ghosh. The film is currently slated for release on 15 October, but that could change again.