Actor kicks off his next, an espionage-thriller directed by Robbie Grewal, on June 10 and will also shoot in Jammu and Kashmir, Nepal, Mumbai
Sanyukta Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 31, 2018)

John Abraham’s next film, the Robbie Grewal directed espionage-thriller Romeo Akbar Walter (RAW) which is set in the 1970s, sees him share screen space with Jackie Shroff for the first time. The duo is set to kick off the film’s first schedule in Gujarat on June 10.

Joining them will be Sikandar Kher, who was last seen as the terrorist Haroon Sherchand in the Anil Kapoor-starrer Hindi version of the TV show 24. In the film, Sikandar plays John’s nemesis and the two actors will feature in several rounds of “war of words”. After wrapping up his portions as the baddie of Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Milan Talkies in Lucknow, Sikandar is now prepping to play the villain once again, this time inspired by a real-life man-on-a-mission with shades of grey. “I am undergoing readings and workshops,” Sikandar says, while writer-director Robbie adds, “There will be several sequences where John and Sikandar are pitted against each other. During the readings I’ve noticed that the timing is going to be crucial. Sikandar makes a great nemesis.”

The film will be shot in a start-to-finish, threemonth schedule, which involves 60 days of rigorous shooting. “We begin in Gujarat; filming continues through Jammu and Kashmir, Nepal, and the schedule ends with some portions being filmed in Mumbai. A leading lady, who will join the cast in Kashmir, will be announced shortly,” informs Bunty Walia, who is co-producing the film with wife Vanessa, Ajay Kapoor, Dheeraj Wadhwan and Gary Grewal.

Robbie is presently in Gulmarg on a recce. The film will also be shot in Srinagar and Jammu. “I’ve been to Kashmir several times to shoot for commercials in the past. My father was in the armed forces and was posted there. I was very young when I first visited the Valley and I wish I could shoot there again and again. The people, the scenery, the food, everything is splendid,” Robbie told Mirror from Kashmir.

The film’s highlight is expected to be the actors’ unique looks as the makers have roped in National Award-winning makeup artist Vikram Gaikwad and famous costume designer Amera Pulwani for the film. John and Jackie’s characters are based on real people, with the latter playing a stylish Chief of RAW.

Meanwhile, John has wrapped up Satyameva Jayate, a Bhushan Kumar and Nikkhil Advani co-production. Directed by Milap Zaveri, the action-packed thriller is set in Mumbai and revolves around a cop and a murderer. It also features Manoj Bajpayee and Aisha Sharma.

Sikander Kher plays nemesis to John in the film; Robbie Grewal in Gulmarg (right)


Meanwhile: Bollywood returns to the Valley

While Jammu and Kashmir has been a Bollywood favourite for decades, filming had come to a standstill in the Valley after the Uri attacks of 2016. However, since January this year, several film personalities have been spotted in Kashmir and in the last six months, three big-budget Bollywood films featuring A-listers, and two Tamil films have been shot in the Valley with as many as 200 unit members. A TV show, produced by Zee, was also filmed there recently. The J&K Government has also reopened its doors for photoshoots with the onset of summer and this week, Neha Dhupia and Prachi Desai are getting photographed against snow-capped landscapes. With Romeo Akbar Walter as the latest entrant in the list, here’s looking at films that were in the Valley recently:

RAAZI: Dodhpatri
Meghna Gulzar’s Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal-starrer became the first film ever to be shot in the remote Dodhpatri – Valley of Milk – in Kashmir’s Budgam district. Dodhpatri is inaccessible for five–six months every year because of heavy snowfall. There was no way to get to the region till a road was built five years ago. The film was shot in a lush meadow where wild horses and sheep graze, with picturesque hills and waterfalls in the background. The unit also stayed in Srinagar for a week, enjoying Kashmiri delicacies.

RACE 3: Sonamarg
 Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez wrapped up the Sonamarg schedule of their action-thriller, Race 3, and left for Leh by road on April 27. After reaching Kargil, Salman, with Jackie behind him, rode to Leh on a motorcycle — a six to eight-hour ride — along with a dozen bikes and jeeps carrying the unit. This was Jacqueline’s first visit to the Valley and before leaving for Leh, she took a ride on a snow bike to Zero Point, which is beyond the Zojila Pass, and promises a breath-taking view of the mountains.

The last schedule of Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyan took off in Sonamarg mid-April. The arrival of Abhishek Bachchan, who plays the lead alongside Taapsee Pannu and Vicky Kaushal in the film, coincided with a call for a two-day shutdown. And while the actor was stopped at Srinagar airport, he reportedly had a good time during the rest of his stay. The team filmed in the Thajiwas area amidst wildlife huts and Taapsee, who visited the Valley for the first time, said that she’d love to return to ski.