After they worked in Badlapur, Director Sriram Raghavan is all set to tap Varun Dhawan's acting skills in the war film Ekkis.
To be produced by Dinesh Vijan, Ekkis is a bio-pic on the Param Vir Chakra winner Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal (external link).
But there are rumours of Ekkis being shelved. How true is that?
"No, it is not shelved," Sriram informs Subhash K Jha.
"The preparation was to start in April and we were supposed to shoot in September. But we all know what happened. Ekkis has been pushed forward to next year," says Sriram.
"I need a specific weather in September-October to shoot the battle locations. So even if COVID recedes, we will have to wait until September 2021."
Sriram says Varun is very excited about playing Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal, who made the supreme sacrifice for the motherland sadly on December 16, the final day of the 1971 War.
"In fact he called me a while back. Poor chap must be bored in quarantine. I told him he must get in shape for the role. I don't want Ekkis to be just another bio-epic. I want it to be reflective of the soldier's personality."
"Varun has to do a lot of preparation. For Andha Dhun, Ayushmann had to learn to play the piano, even if it was just three musical pieces. Varun has to work a lot harder to look convincing."
"He must go on location, meet other soldiers, meet Arun's family. He needs to understand the language of a soldier, the agility and the alertness. If I were to climb into a tank, I'd probably need a chair."
"Varun has to jump into the tank as if he belonged in it. We also need to source the artillery and the tanks etc."
Ekkis likely refers to Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal's age (21) when he died in the Battle of Basantar. He had joined the Indian Army just six months earlier.
His final words, according to Wikipedia, over the radio to a superior officer who had ordered him to abandon his burning tank were, 'No, Sir, I will not abandon my tank. My main gun is still working and I will get these bastards.'