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After the 2017 crime-drama, Raees, Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar are once again joining hands with Rahul Dholakia for an action-thriller, which is expected to roll early next year. Set in Mumbai, this close-to-life story revolves around a fire-fighter named Tukaram and how he motivates his team to tackle various SOS calls.
The project is not a biopic of any one person but will weave in several real-life incidents, along with an emotional father-son story, with an antagonist thrown in to create friction.
The National Award-winning director, Rahul Dholakia dabbled with a lot of ideas before zeroing in on this one, and points out that with the exception of Ravi Chopra's 1980 The Burning Train, the subject of fire hasn't been tackled in Hindi mainstream cinema in a big way.
While talking about the same, Rahul Dholakia shared, "But a series of fires in the city of late makes me believe that it's time for a film that celebrates these unsung heroes. For me, the firefighters are on par with cops and soldiers, but their heroics have gone largely unacknowledged even in a city of skyscrapers. They put their lives on the line every other day to put out and save us from fires which sometimes spark off from our own carelessness and violation of safety norms. They are also called to pull a child out of a borewell, rescue a kitten from the roof, clear an uprooted tree from the road and help during a building collapse or a deluge. Even during the 26/11 attacks they played a significant role in the rescues but went unheralded."
Rahul Dholakia has always been fascinated by firefighters and, during his research, he has met many in person, visited fire stations and even been on a few trails with Randeep Hooda, the face of the Mumbai Fire Brigade and the brand ambassador of fire services in India
"A film like this offers plenty of scope for emotions and drama, action and visual thrills, with a larger-than-life protagonist at the centre, the surroundings and story-telling technique bringing in the realism," Rahul points out.
National Award-winning dialogue writer, Vijay Maurya, who has films like Chillar Party as a writer and Tumhari Sulu as an actor to his credit, is now working with Kabir Khan on his World Cup cricket drama, 83, and Zoya Akhtar, on her upcoming musical Gully Boy, has been collaborating with Rahul on the dialogues.
Rahul also shares, "Farhan has contributed a lot of inputs to the script and Ritesh is a brilliant producer. This is a big film and will cost a lot. It requires sensitive makers because while being visually dramatic, it needs to be an 'experience' for the audience to see and feel. Having worked with Farhan and Ritesh on Raees, I can't think of anyone better to take this film forward with me."
Rahul Dholakia has a final narration with the producer duo in a couple of days, after which they will start on the casting. When quizzed about the casting, he told Mumbai Mirror, "I need a 40-plus actor to play Tukaram. We will definitely cast an A-list actor but right now both the title and the cast are under discussion."