With Unlock 1.0 in place, the Maharashtra government has allows shops and offices to remain open but there have not been any guidelines to resume film and TV shoots. Production houses are waiting for the government’s green signal but the wait seems to be only getting longer. As per the state government’s old guidelines, it allows only 33% of staff on location. Actors and production crew above the age of 65 will be barred and doctors, nurses will be deployed on the set for checking the staff. These guidelines were not acceptable to the industry.
Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit said, “Actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah and Paresh Rawal cannot stay at home. Many of our crew members are above 65 years and they are specialised in set designing and camera work. How can we tell them to stay at home? Practically, we can’t keep a doctor and a nurse on set who will check our staff for an eight hours shift. When city hospitals don’t have doctors and nurses, then how can we get them for our shoots? Some of the government guidelines are impractical.”
Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association President T.P. Aggarwal said that it is unfair to disallow senior actors. “We have told the government about our inability to follow the guidelines and that it needs amendment. We are still waiting for their nod,” he said.
Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray last month discussed the issue with the producers and actors. According to trade analysts, the film industry has already lost more than Rs 1,500 crore due to the nationwide lockdown, the things would only worsen if the film and TV shoots do not resume soon.
According to Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah producer Asit Modi, “Many of our staff are waiting for shooting to start and a large amount of labour has left the city. This is the need of the hour.”
To add to the TV industry’s woes, in the last few weeks, as per the BARC TRP’s chart, TV viewership has reduced and OTT has gained from it.