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NEW DELHI : The muted response to their latest spy thriller Bellbottom notwithstanding, Bollywood production house Pooja Entertainment is already building its slate for the next couple of months, having started work on a new untitled film with Akshay Kumar in London besides an action flick with Tiger Shroff called Ganpath. The company has 13 films in the pipeline across genres.

“The pandemic has given everyone time to develop scripts and we’ve realized the biggest hero we can bring to a film is a good script," said managing director Jackky Bhagnani who took over from father Vashu, veteran Hindi film producer, in 2018. In the time that Jackky has taken over the reins, the company has backed films such as Saif Ali Khan’s comedy drama Jawaani Jaaneman released in January 2020 and Varun Dhawan-starrer Coolie No.1 that premiered on Amazon Prime Video last December.

The big impact of the pandemic, Bhagnani said, is that going forward, film-makers and studios will be very clear on films that are made for a theatrical release and require the costs attached and the ones that would work better as direct-to-digital releases. “While shooting for Bellbottom late last year, we thought things would be completely normal by the time we are ready for release this year," Bhagnani said, admitting that with no night shows, states such as Maharashtra still shut and 50% seating occupancies, the film business is only running at 17-18% of normal times. “We’re not looking at (box office) numbers right now but are happy to have paved the way for more films to arrive in cinemas," he said.

Besides working on a slate of web originals that will soon be announced, Bhagnani is dabbling with music production through a label called Jjust Music that has just brought out an independent single called Vande Mataram featuring Tiger Shroff. “Our focus is independent music for now, and though we’re a startup that needs to scale up, we’re targeting 20-30 singles each year," he said.

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