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Bollywood and TV shoots halted as Maharashtra government announces new restrictions amid rising Covid-19 cases

The shoot of Shah Rukh Khan's Pathan, Salman Khan-led Tiger 3 and Amitabh Bachchan's Goodbye among many other film and TV shoots will be halted as per the latest guidelines.

Written by Priyanka Sharma | Mumbai |
Updated: April 14, 2021 8:10:03 am
film shoots haltedFilm and television shoots will be halted from April 14. (Photo: PR Handout)

Bollywood and television shoots in Maharashtra will be halted from Wednesday evening, the Maharashtra government announced on Tuesday, as part of the new guidelines issued in trying to suppress the rise of COVID-19. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said new restrictions will be implemented in the state from April 14, 8 pm till May 1, 7 am.

The new order, concerning films and television is a part of a 17-page order, titled Break The Chain guidelines, that states all shoots of films, television and advertisement will be put on hold for the above mentioned period. Until this order, shoots in the state were operating with restrictions like avoiding filming scenes with large crowds or background dancers and no shoots during the weekend lockdown.

Films like Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Pathan, Salman Khan-led Tiger 3 and megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s Goodbye were filming with these restrictions.

Television producer JD Majethia, whose Wagle Ki Duniya airs on SAB TV, told indianexpress.com that while he and his members at the Indian Films & TV Producers Council support the government in its fight, they will approach the CM to allow shoots to go on with stricter measures.

“We stand by the government and the new rules. We have just received the 17 page order and are figuring out a way. Even last time, we did resume shoot keeping in mind all safety measures. We will approach the CM and discuss if we can work as I’ve always believed that the industry people are also frontline warriors given we give employment and also entertain so many. However, if nothing works out, we will have to accept it and wait for things to settle down,” said Majethia.

Federation of Western India Cine Employees president BN Tiwari maintained shoots needed to continue as he didn’t believe they were contributing to the COVID-19 spike.

“We will be approaching the government as we don’t think shooting was causing the spike. We have been following all protocols and if allowed, we will maintain stricter rules. We have already sped up testing and can also start creating bio bubble if needed. We are open to suggestions and rules, however, work needs to continue.”

When asked if the body was planning to back daily wagers, who would be out of work for more than 15 days, he said, “We have just received the order and still in discussion how things will pan out. I will call up Salman Khan tomorrow as he is the only one who can pull us out of it. Ramadan is starting and he can fulfil his good deeds and by being the saviour, he has always been.”

Many filmmakers were waiting for the Maharashtra government’s call on a supposed lockdown so as to decide the future of their current productions. Earlier this week, when indianexpress.com contacted director Anees Bazmee on the possibility of returning to floors with Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 as lead star Kartik Aaryan had recovered from the coronavirus, he said, “Like everyone in the industry, I am also a part of the wait and watch game. If the lockdown happens, it will be for everyone. Otherwise, we will go ahead with the shoot.”

The film and TV shoots in the country were first halted in 2020 after the coronavirus-induced lockdown happened in March. After a gap of more than six months, popular television shows resumed shooting, and gradually film productions followed. In the wake of the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases, the Maharashtra government had previously announced shutting down of theatres, causing distress to the exhibition sector as many big films were eyeing releases in the coming months.

(With inputs from Sana Farzeen)

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