Ajay Devgn, Sonakshi Sinha’s 'Bhuj' to release on August 13?

Ajay Devgn’s Bhuj: The Pride of India, directed by Abhishek Dudhaiya, will release on August 13 this year on Independence Day weekend. The movie posters and teaser are expected to hit social media in the second week of July. The trailer launch is yet to be finalised. 

Ajay completed the four-day final schedule last month, which comprised of action-packed sequences and patchwork. The movie is helmed by debutante director, Abhishek Dudhaiya. Bhuj... will have a worldwide digital release on Disney+ Hotstar. 

On the same note, a trade source from the industry said, “Bhuj will have a direct-to-digital release on August 13 as it’s a Friday. It was meant to release last year in December (as the historic event happened on that month) but then the pandemic struck and delayed its release. The film boasts of some fantastic action sequences by National Award-winning action choreographer and stunt coordinator Peter Hein, along with action and stunt designing teams from Bulgaria and Vietnam, who have choreographed the high-paced thrilling action and war sequences in the film. The makers are sparing no expenses to make sure that the film is a visual treat for the audiences. It’s a true story which needs to be showcased for all to see. While Dharmendra Sharma, who edited Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior and a host of other movies have been editing Bhuj in the last few months, Ajay too has been sitting in on it, along with Abhishek. Recently, Dharmendra edited a 3.5-minute trailer of the movie, and people who have watched the rough version have been blown away. Without CGI, animation, dubbing, and background scores, the look is bigger than one of India’s biggest war dramas – Border. After a long time, we are making such a war movie in India and on such a big scale.”

Talking about the release of the trailer and teaser, the source informs, “Ajay, Sonakshi and Sanjay Dutt’s first looks came last year. Now new looks of them and other principal star cast will come in the second week of July – including Nora Fatehi, Sharad Kelkar, Pranitha Subhash and Ammy Virk and then followed by a one-minute teaser. Ajay, Abhishek and Dharmendra are finalising the teaser too. The final trailer is expected to come in the last week of July. The best thing is that the makers have ensured that the entire principal cast is featured in the trailer – giving importance to all the characters who played a prominent role in the historic event.”  

Bhuj: The Pride of India is about Indian Air Force (IAF) base commander, Squadron Leader Vijay Kumar Karnik (Devgn), who along with two other officers, 50 IAF and 60 Defence Security Corps personnel kept the Bhuj airbase operational and airstrip ready, during 1971 Indo-Pakistani War, to receive a squadron of fighter planes from Punjab. He was helped by 300 villagers, mostly women, who took up the task of repairing the only airstrip in Bhuj in 72 hours.

Sonakshi plays Sunderben Jetha Madharparya, a social worker, from Madhapur, who convinced the local women to help rebuild the runway in Bhuj. Sanjay Dutt plays civilian, Ranchordas Rabari aka ‘Pagi’, who helped the Indian Army win the war, Sharad Kelkar plays army officer Raghuvir Raina, Nora Fatehi plays Heena Rehman, an Indian spy staying in Lahore, Ammy Virk, a fighter pilot in the IAF, Pranitha Subhash plays Squadron Leader Vijay Karnik’s wife Usha, and Mahesh Shetty plays Laxman Karnik.

Dutt began shooting for Bhuj on June 25, 2019 and filming took place in Bhopal, Kutch, Indore, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Parineeti Chopra was replaced by Nora in November 2019 as Chopra’s dates were clashing with Saina, while Sharad Kelkar replaced Rana Daggubati because of the latter’s health problems. 

Production got delayed in 2020 due to Covid-19 and new shooting guidelines and Ajay started shooting again in Hyderabad from November 22, 2020. Some magnificent action sequences (including portions of the climax) have been shot at Kathda village in Mandvi Taluka, Gujarat. After the first schedule in Hyderabad, with Sanjay Dutt and Sonakshi Sinha, Ajay Devgn and the actress shot a lavish song number in Mandvi in Gujarat, with a grand set and over 300 background dancers. At Kathda village in Mandvi taluka, a huge set was constructed – of a fort, and fighter plane models, for around 15-20 days of shooting, to shoot portions of the climax.

The makers kicked off the first schedule by recreating Madhapur village at Ramoji studios in Hyderabad. In Kathda village, a set of the Bhuj airport and replicas of IAF fighter planes had been constructed for action-packed climax sequences.

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