Even as some Bollywood producers are undecided about returning to the sets in the current scenario, Karan Johar’s Dharma 2.0 — the ad film and digital wing of Dharma Productions — began work earlier this month. Among its first projects was a commercial with Vidya Balan for an antiseptic cream brand. The actor got a taste of shooting in the post-COVID world as she filmed the ad with director Shashank Khaitan at Mehboob Studios in Bandra in the third week of August.
A unit hand reveals that Punit Malhotra, who heads Dharma 2.0 with Garima Vora, was present at the shoot to ensure that the state government’s on-set guidelines were duly followed. “He arrived on the set early morning to check the safety measures, and ensure the floor was sanitised ahead of the day-long shoot. Punit and Shashank, along with Karan, had hand-picked a skeletal crew of 25 for the project. The entire team, including the director, was dressed in PPE suits provided by the production house,” says the source.
Johar did not want to increase the unit strength by bringing a catering team on board. “Instead, boxed meals were delivered from a star hotel close to the studio,” reveals the unit member. The production house has since shot for three more commercials with Anil Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan and Tiger Shroff.