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Post-Corona Virus Shooting, Experts Analyze

What  is  the way forward  for  the  film and television industry  of India once  the  lockdown ends ? Last  week the Producers’ Guild  Of India   issued  a lengthy  list of  post-lockdown  guidelines which they later  declared  to be an internal discussion  ‘leaked’ on the public domain prematurely

 However  the fact  remains that  the industry is  now planning strategies  to resume  shooting  after  lockdown.

This makes  no sense to  the film industy’s prominent spokesperson  and Ashoke Pandit the  chief adviser  The  Federation Of Western India  Cine Employees. “How can  any guild or  industry association plan any strategy  for post-lockdown shooting unless the Government  comes out with  a post-lockdown policy?  We have to  see the  Government’s guideline  and  then  plan  accordingly.”

Ashoke doesn’t  seem  very optimistic  about the  future  of  the entertainment  industry. “We haven’t  learnt our lessons.  Look at the way the queues  behaved  when the  liquor shops re-opened. It was  business as  usual. If this is all we’ve learnt from our recent  experience  than   even God can’t save us .”

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 Pandit sees  a precarious  situation emerging  from the Corona  crisis. “How  will we shoot  films and  serials where close proximity is  essential both on and  off camera? We are nor manufacturing biscuits. We are  doing what is essentially creative work where we  need  to constantly interact with one another. How  do we shoot a fight  sequence without  actors  touching one another? Forget  about actors  venturing into  the  post-Corona guidelines. They’ll be too frightened  to shoot.”

Ashoke wants the central government to   help the  Indian film industry get back on its feet.  “We must be treated  like  an industry. We must be given GST and other concessions  and  incentives  . It’s  the  only way we can survive  after this economic  trauma.”

Sameer Nair, CEO of  Applause  Entertainment, feels, “As an industry, we are figuring out the best way to bring the entertainment and media industry’s economy back on the rails. It’s very important that we get back to work soonest.”

 Entrepreneur-actor  Sachiin Joshi who feels the  OTT is the way  forward  for the  film industry, also feels the big-screen  experience is irreplaceable.  “Once  the lockdown is over  there will be  some amount of  uncertainty  and chaos about how  to go about with the shooting. But we Indians are  exceptionally resilient  people. Our industry will figure  out all the dos and don ts of shooting in no time at  all.”

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Adds  trade analyst  Girish  Johar,  “The guidelines issued by the producers guild has an extensive overview of what is the ideal scenario when  we, the film fraternity, resume the shooting and   production services, post the government approval. It has taken utmost care about  each and every individual, right in front of the camera and  behind the camera as well. The basic framework is effective.But the  actual ground reality maybe different. It will be very limiting to cut down on labour and  production teams. The cost will go up in various departments and there will  be added  expenses  to maintain those hygiene factors.”

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 Johar feels we  cannot  tackle the  situation until we hit the  road.  “As production is a very intricate and  closely-knit discipline , how it actually pans out on the ground level, remains to be seen. Most importantly   the actors have to be comfortable, tested and then come on screen. It  is big but do-able challenge. If the actors give full support then I  guess that all could be easy, to start with. Also, I believe some feedback has gone to the Producers’  Guild and they have issued another circular stating that the guidelines issued are only a first draft, for the moment and  more tweaking and  fine tuning is being made. So I presume all the inputs will be re-factored and updated guidelines will come out soon.”

Says Shibasish Sarkar CEO  Reliance Entertainment, “We have to wait for some  guidelines  to be finalized and cleared by the Government. Until then  we can only  wait and watch.”

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