15 October was a dreadful day for the cast and crew of Ashwini Dhir's Lapataganj - Sharad Joshi Ki Kahaniyon Ka Pata, a comedy series on SAB. The mighty hand of the Bombay Municipal Corporation came down upon the very lavish set of the show in Malwani, as workers went about demolishing it.
What happened? Sources say that permissions for the location and the set had been taken for two years. but with the third year commencing, the BMC got into the act. It undertook the demolition even as the production house disclosed that it was working on getting its contract renewed for continuing in the same location. But Ashwini did not let this unfortunate incident bog him down, even though it has, according to sources, set him back by Rs 7 million or so. He moved bag and baggage to a new location in Film City and a new set is coming up there under the supervision of art director Tina and will be ready by 10 November.
Like Ashwini, Sab business head Anooj Kapoor is also quite cool about the fact that Lapataganj's set was knocked down. "Whatever happened was fate and the good part is that Lapataganj never went off the track. I wish after coming back on the sets the show's TRP’s will rise expectantly."
For Lapataganj's cast and crew, however, it was hell, even as the BMC's demolition gang hit the set. Some of them burst into tears. But thankfully, the show's storyline was around Ram Leela, filming of which could be shifted to a quickly erected makeshift set in Film City. According to the show's lead actor Rohitash Gaud, there was chaos all around and a feeling of helplessness set in amongst the those involved in the show. Says he: "A person gets attached to a place when you work there for too long. Everything is back to normal now and we are working as we were prior the incident."
Other shows which have fallen prey to the demolition hammer include Optimystix Entertainment's Saas Bina Sasuraal, and JD Majethia's Choti Si Zindagi. Wonder who will be next?