Akshay Kumar’s recent Covid diagnosis sent Bollywood into a tizzy, as he is probably the busiest A-lister today, with multiple projects announced or being on floors. His latest film, Ram Setu had just kicked off it’s shooting recently with the lead cast, when the actor tested positive and announced it on social media.
However, immediately after that, a story started doing the rounds that 45 people have tested positive on the same film’s sets, or during the shoot. The makers, however, deny it outright. Vikram Malhotra, Abundantia Entertainment, who is co-producing the film, says this is “absolutely inaccurate and a total misrepresentation of facts.”
He reveals that as part of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) laid down for the safety of everyone on a shoot, advance and frequent Covid tests are carried out for all crew members. “In line with the same, and ahead of the shoot to be held on April 5 in Madh Island, around 190 people were tested on 3rd at an off-location testing camp in Versova, Mumbai from which a certain number were to be selected for the shoot. Out of these 190-odd people, 25 people tested positive and were, therefore, removed from those who qualified to be part of the unit for shoot the next day,” he says.
Reiterating that none of those individuals were ever a part of the unit or present on the film’s set, Malhotra continues, “The expenses for this off-location testing and all such tests is borne entirely by the film’s production and is monitored by the production team.”
Kumar being infected with the virus, he says, had nothing to do with these tests or those 45 people being diagnosed positive. “The shoot lined up for April 5 had to be suspended. There is absolutely no connection or correlation between the two developments as the very shoot that is being quoted in the false story never took place!,” Malhotra clarifies.
Further, also as part of the protocol, crew members who were in proximity of Kumar have been tested and have followed self-isolation. Nushrratt Bharuccha and Jacqueline Fernandez, his co-stars, too have followed the safety procedures and got tested.