Actor Amitabh Bachchan and filmmaker Shoojit Sircar have requested the rights holders of Shoebite to release the movie. Shoebite was Sircar’s second film after Yahaan (2005), but has been stuck in development hell for years.
The film, initially titled Johnny Walker and Johnny Mastana, is based on M Night Shyamalan’s 1992 script Labor of Love. Bachchan plays John Pereira, a sexagenarian who sets out on a journey of self-discovery after his wife falls into a coma. The cast includes Sarika, Dia Mirza and Jimmy Shergill.
Shoebite was initially produced by Percept Picture Company. After working with Percept for a while, Sircar took the production over to UTV Motion Pictures. Even as Percept sued UTV for copyright infringement, Shyamalan, who had sold the script in 1993 to the American studio 20th Century Fox, stalled the production and demanded that Shoebite be released only after he had made his film. Meanwhile, UTV Motion Pictures was bought by Disney in 2012.
As of 2014, Shyamalan still hoped to make the movie. According to a report in Deadline, Shyamalan wanted to cast Bruce Willis in the lead role. “In Labor Of Love, Willis will play a Philadelphia book store owner who loses the love of his life in a tragic accident,” the report stated. “Never big on words, he becomes haunted by the notion that he never properly told his wife how much he loved her. Since she once asked if he would walk across the country for her, he decides to show her posthumously just how much he did love her. That trek starts from Philadelphia to Pacifica, CA, which was her favorite place.”
In an interview with The Indian Express, Sircar said he was very keen that the movie be released. “...I am also ready to sell my home and pay them to release the film.. purely for Mr Bachchan, my crew and technicians,” he said. Sircar appealed to Ronnie Screwwala, the former head of UTV, to come up with a solution. “Mr Bachchan and I have been pleading.. I think Ronnie Screwwala should come forward and resolve it for us as he was the producer and the presenter of the film,” Sircar said.