fter close to two months, Maharashtra has started partial relaxation in its lockdown rules. Under the unlock plan, the state government has permitted shooting, but the film and TV industry will have to work in a bio-bubble and that too for limited hours. In the new nine-to-five shift from a usual 12-hour routine, the entertainment industry has to make-do with whatever they have.
Many producers have moved their sets to other cities where shoots were allowed to be able to keep their shows on air. While there is no choice but to resume work, how conducive is the situation? Director Abhijit Das says, it is far from being favourable but it’s now a matter of survival, “Last time, getting permission to shoot was just about wearing masks, washing hands and thinking all will be fine. It was all like a joke! The crew was supposed to operate at 30 per cent, but rules were flouted and cases started piling up.”
This mention of the past comes with a realisation that it’s a tightrope walk from here on. “Shoots have started for an eight-hour shift, but that is not enough. There is cost implication. Then comes working in a bio-bubble; in a country like India, how is that even possible when the major part of crew comprises daily-wagers who come from chawl-like set-up where there are 10 persons in one small room and hygiene isn’t the top priority? It is far too complicated and finding balance will be our focus,” Abhijit adds.
Director-screenwriter Habib Faisal, who has a web series to complete, says, “The producers may have a bigger responsibility to follow safety norms, but we all have a role to play here and remain cautious.” Apart from that, Habib says the entire crew has to go through a rapid test every fourth or fifth day.
More than anything else, director Sanjeev Vig believes the entire cast and crew should be vaccinated before they hit the sets, “Most producers that we are talking to are working towards vaccinating the cast and crew. It is the right thing to do for any industry that involves a group of people working together. If vaccination becomes mandatory, we may have to wait longer.” But that’s not really an option anymore. As Abhijit puts it. “I guess the situation is far from ideal to open up shoots, but we don’t have a choice anymore; it is a question of survival now.”
Back in business
With the partial relaxation of the lockdown in Maharashtra, many actors and filmmakers have started getting back to work. With all her safety gear and precautions in place, actress Nushrratt Bharuccha too has stepped out to dub for her upcoming film Chhori. A source close to the actress revealed, “Nushrratt went out on Monday to start the process of dubbing Chhori. She is very excited for the film, and is extremely happy to resume work. The shoot schedule of the film was wrapped up in December, in a 40-day schedule, and now Nushrratt has started dubbing for it.”
“We have completed 70 per cent of my upcoming film Roop Nagar Ke Cheetey and have resumed the shoot for the remaining part. My team’s immunity, mental and physical health is of prime importance, which is why I provide them with immunity boosters daily. We also have a doctor on the sets, who regularly monitors each and every crew member. Since it is a relatively smaller crew, it’ll be easier to manage. Nevertheless, utmost care will be taken. Zero compromise on health!” Mannan Shaah, producer
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