Most producers have heaved a sigh of relief after Maharashtra government’s decision on Sunday to allow film and television production work to resume in non-containment zones under certain guidelines. Yet, after the heavy losses that the industry has suffered, they are treading cautiously — weighing their options and feasibility of delving into production activities.
Producer Anand Pandit and Asit Kumarr Modi, the creator of the show Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, called the government’s decision “a welcome move”.
While the post-production work on Pandit’s next, Chehre, with Amitabh Bachchan and Emraan Hashmi in lead, was complete, a few days of shoot for his upcoming Big Bull, featuring Abhishek Bachchan, was pending when the lockdown was imposed. “We have been planning (production work) for a while knowing that restrictions would be eased eventually. Now that we have the go-ahead, we need to finalise the details. We are planning to finish the shoot of Big Bull,” he said.
With new scripts in hand, Modi is hoping to receive the final approval from authorities concerned to start the shoot of this 12-year-old popular show. “Over the last couple of months, we have been working very hard on creating new scripts. We have already finalised some interesting scripts. We will begin shoots as early as possible, after getting the final permission. We will follow all directives to ensure that our cast and crew are safe,” he said.
Actor Chhavi Mittal, who has a YouTube channel called Shitty Ideas Trending, has shot three episodes for her show at home, with her husband handling the camera. Now, she is hoping to have at least one sound engineer while shooting and work on new story ideas. Though the shooting of earlier episodes required 15 to 60 members, depending on the location and the story, Mittal knows she has to work with limited number of cast and crew.
Welcoming the the government’s move, a Producers Guild of India spokesperson said: “In the coming days, the Guild will interface with all key stakeholders to support and enable the smoothest possible implementation of these guidelines, as we get back to work.” Several producers, including Ekta Kapoor, too thanked the government.
However, with the threat of the pandemic still looming large, many are wary. Pandit said: “Given what the world is going through, the road to normalcy will not be an easy one. These are stringent guidelines but this virus is so virulent that we need stringency to keep ourselves safe and hope for the best.”
Sources in ALT Balaji said that they don’t have any plans at the moment to resume work on their web shows.
When the production work restarts at various locations, it would be a completely different experience with cast and crew wearing masks, gloves and face shields. However, with losses mounting, everyone is keen to get back to work. “This is a slow process. But we are hopeful of operating normally within the next three months,” said Monish Sekri, producer of the popular Punjabi daily soap Tu Patang Mein Dor.
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