Filming of the climax scene for Saaho, the much-awaited Telugu movie starring Baahubali's Prabhas, will take place in the UAE this month and has not been cancelled or delayed as previously rumoured. This is according to the actor behind the film's villain, Neil Nitin Mukesh.
The 20-minute action scene is being touted as the most important element of the film, and young director Sujeeth Reddy has reportedly managed to get permissions to shoot scenes in the UAE to follow in the footsteps of Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible IV and the spaceships of Star Trek Beyond.
While there is a tight lid on almost every element of the film, Bollywood star Neil Nitin Mukesh told us: "There is so much going on, but we are moving along nicely. As far as I know, there have been no changes. I, along with the rest of the cast and crew, will be landing in Dubai towards the end of the month [March]."
Hollywood stuntman Kenny Bates is in charge of the action sequences, which will be shot in the UAE.
Neil, who took to social media to post birthday wishes for Shraddha Kapoor on Sunday (March 4), said he was really looking forward to what will be his most important role as a villain, and to working with co-stars Prabhas and Shraddha.
"I can't wait to start the schedule," he told us. He confirmed he will be coming to the UAE with Rukmini, who he married in February last year.
The grandson of old-time Bollywood singer Mukesh and son of Nitin Mukesh, also a famous singer in his own right, the 36-year-old actor was curious to know what the weather will be like in the UAE in late March when we spoke to him. When we told him it could get to around 30°Celsius, he said he has worked in the past in 50°C heat and so the weather would not be a problem for him.
Saaho's UAE filming session will come around the same time as Salman Khan's Race 3 stunt shoot in Abu Dhabi.
Saaho is slated for an early 2019 release. There's a lot of hype surrounding the film, particularly because of its star Prabhas, who was the lead in Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. The second of the two-part bilingual (Hindi & Tamil) movie franchise became the first Indian film to cross the Rs100 billion (Dh5.66 billion) mark in revenue.
That success was in large part because of the curiosity generated after the first franchise ended in suspense, the filmmakers were particularly secretive about the sequel – a tactic now being employed by the Saaho producers as well.
The hashtag for the movie #Baahubali2 was the most tweeted one in India in 2017:
As further proof of the social media frenzy over Saaho, a first look at Shraddha Kapoor in the film, the lead heroine, went viral and was covered by multiple media outlets after her make-up artist posted it on Instagram on Tuesday evening.
* This article has been amended to reflect that Saaho plans to shoot in the UAE, rather than specifically Dubai