January 2015 was about to end and like it happens almost every year, the first few weeks of the year weren’t good, Bollywood wise. A couple of films that had released didn’t impress the audiences. It was the second last week when the Neeraj Pandey action thriller, Baby, arrived in cinemas. The trailer didn’t give much of an idea and the strategy worked. The film went beyond expectations, making Baby one of the best films to have come out of Indian cinema. The 45 minute long climax in the finale took the film to a high. The film has an ensemble cast, with many actors having limited screen time. Yet, each one of them – Rana Daggubati, Anupam Kher, Taapsee Pannu, Jameel Khan, Kay Kay Menon, Sushant Singh, Danny Denzongpa, Rasheed Naz and Hasan Noman – left a huge mark. And the leading actor Akshay Kumar obviously took the cake and delivered a performance to watch out for.
Today, this iconic film completes 3 years. On this auspicious occasion, we bring to you 14 unknown facts about the film that shouldn’t be missed. All these facts have been mentioned in the coffee table book ‘Baby – The Journey’, written by Mitrajit Bhattacharya and features photographs by Chandan Kachhawa.
1. One of the most important shots of the Nepal sequence was shot at the famous Durbar Square in the capital city of Kathmandu, comprising Akshay Kumar secretly following Taapsee Pannu and Sushant Singh. At 7 am in the morning, the crowd seemed to be in control but as soon as Akshay Kumar walked in at 8:30 am, the Square was teeming with a crowd swelling close to 5000 people. The crowd stood undeterred till lunch time. When the unit returned post lunch, they realized that the crowd was still there and this caused an early pack up. The remaining shots of the sequence were shot later at a different location.
2. Akshay Kumar made a point to interact with the local folk artists, who were part of the crowd shot, at the Durbar Square. He also obliged with a group photograph with the security officers provided by the government for the entire duration of the shoot.
3. The film was shot in the year 2014 in Kathmandu, Nepal from May 2 to May 7, in Istanbul, Turkey from May 11 and May 17, New Delhi from September 1 to September 10, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from September 15 to September 25 and in Mumbai from October 1 to October 19.
4. While doing a recce around the famed Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, Turkey, cinematographer Sudeep Chatterjee and his team lost the way and wasted an hour and a half to cover a distance which should ideally have taken five minutes!
5. A part of the chase sequence between Akshay Kumar and Jamal (Karan Anand) was shot in Çiçek Passage in Istanbul. A local actor who essayed a customer in a restaurant became the centre of attraction when the camera was not rolling. He challenged the cast and crew for a term of arm wrestling and defeated each and every one of them quite easily. Akshay Kumar in this picture can be seen cheering for Karan Anand.
6. Meet Akshay Kumar’s body double Shamsher.
7. Akshay Kumar pushing Karan Anand’s stunt double across a glass window resulting his fall in a restaurant was a very tricky shot. The team feared for the safety of the crew member, who was a local stuntman from Istanbul. But it came out perfectly and was a one-take shot.
8. Did you notice why this tram in the Istanbul was decked up with flowers? Well, that’s because the said scene was shot on Mother’s Day. Yet, director Neeraj Pandey decided to include in the film nevertheless. The original production design, however, required a regular tram.
9. Baby’s nail biting climax was shot at the Al Ain Airport in United Arab Emirates. It was rechristened as Al Dera airport.
10. Anupam Kher is quite comfortable with his usual bald look and it took a little bit of convincing by the team to opt for the wig.
11. A simple shot required Akshay Kumar to pick up Madhurima Tuli in his arms. Akshay however decided to swirl the actress around in all possible directions, much to everyone’s bewilderment. Though she was petrified, Madhurima Tuli put up a smile, hiding behind her shades.
12. This particular back shot of Akshay Kumar was clicked at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, at 3:30 pm. It made for a nice watch and Neeraj Pandey knew at that point that it would make it to the film’s trailer.
13. The sequence where Kay Kay Menon escapes from police custody takes places at the iconic Princess Street Flyover near Marine Drive in Mumbai. However, part of the sequence (vehicle shooting off the crash barrier and flying off the bridge) was shot in a completely different location at Nerul in Navi Mumbai.
14. Toilet – Ek Prem Katha director Shree Narayan Singh was the editor of the film. He was the one responsible for giving the film a slick but not rushed narrative and it worked very well with the audiences.
15. During the Istanbul schedule, a day was credited to Akshay Kumar, who was also a co-producer on Baby. He insisted on using the word ‘only’ against his name, in jest.