Director Rahul Dholakia believes once the lockdown is lifted, filmmakers and producers will have to re-evaluate the way film sets function and focus on sanitisation as well as safety of the people involved in the movie making process.
Like every other avenue, the coronavirus pandemic has brought the global film industry to a grinding halt, with all the movie, theatre and TV productions being shut down to contain the spread of COVID-19.
In India, the members of the film fraternity had cancelled most of the shoots even before the nationwide lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24.
Dholakia believes it would be a necessity to sanitise the complete set every day and the procedure could spike the budget of a film by 30 to 40 per cent.
“Filmmaking will be different. It will be expensive because of the rules and guidelines. Every day will start and end with sanitising and checking the temperature of everyone present on the sets. Sanitising not just people but even the smallest of things, like the props on the sets, will have to happen regularly and all this will lead to more expenses. All this will lead to extra shifts, extra crew members and extra equipment. I think there will be an increase in the budget by approximately 30 to 40 per cent,” Dholakia told PTI in an interview.
The Raees director said people in the industry need to chalk out a detailed plan before starting any work.
“An actor comes with their staff and that will be cut down. I am not sure if we can reduce the crew members, like we have lighting crew, setting crew, rehearsal team and other teams doing different jobs simultaneously, but now it seems everyone will come one by one to do their job. Everything will be compartmentalised,” he added.
In the post lockdown world, Dholakia said it will be a challenge to bring the audiences back to cinema halls, adding they would prefer to watch content on an OTT platform in the safe environment of their home.
“In terms of viewing experience, earlier people would look at OTT or TV a couple of times in a week but now that everyone is staying indoors they are addicted to watching stuff on TV and OTT. It is going to be difficult for audiences to come to the theatre because of the health scare. It will take a lot of time for the industry to start generating revenue,” he said.
Dholakia believes India may also finally do away with the tradition of intervals leading to a crisper narrative.
“Theatre owners might decide to not have an intermission period and that will be a great thing for cinema. The narrative will be crisper. Storytelling and screenplay writing will be sharp as the interval point will go away. It will be in a proper structure as that is what one is seeing on OTT and TV currently. Eventually films will be shorter in length, like one-and-half-hour. We hope there will be no interval as that is also good for the safety of people and better for filmmaking as well,” he added
The director said the pandemic has changed the way people live their lives and storytellers will have to keep things like social distancing in mind while writing a script.
“The funny thing is I am writing a script right now and in that a boy hugs a girl but can she do that now? As you think of social distancing, you start rewriting it because of the fear and that’s the reality. The world is changing and we will have to adapt to it accordingly. This is unfortunately an event which is changing the lifestyle of people,” he said.