Just as a slew of movies were announced for their theatrical release, filling cinemakers and cinegoers with joy, an alarming spike in coronavirus cases and two new strains of the virus detected in Maharashatra and Kerala set the alarm ringing. After coming to a grinding halt due to the pandemic last year, would the current scenario stop the entertainment industry on its tracks once all over again? Makers and actors express their concerns.
Just as one was hoping that big-ticket releases would restore cinemas to its top spot of entertainment, one sees many films still opting for the OTT route. Kartik Aaryan-starrer Dhamaka would release directly on OTT. Cinemas are yet to see footfall. Does that spell further wait for the filmmakers? “Well, god forbid if the cases were to increase again and there’s a clampdown on cinemas for a long duration then OTT release would be an easier and more viable option,” says Rahul Mittra.
“ There’s definitely a grave concern currently in Mumbai due to the new strain and rising cases of Covid and we have seen some cancellations and postponements in and around Mumbai,” says filmmaker Rahul Mittra. However, since many of the shoots happen outside Mumbai and Maharashtra, it gives him some hope. Already activities like dubbing and photo-shoots have slowed down. Technicians, who were looking forward to resuming regular office, have continued working from homes as there is a rising concern about safety.
Writer director Aarambhh M Singh is concerned about the industry. “Rise in cases with mutant strains coming to the fore is concerning because the entertainment industry is barely getting back on its feet after almost a year of hiatus. My worry is not just for my personal safety but also for the crew that doesn’t have an option but to get back to work to support their families.”
Actor Paritosh Tripathi feels if precautions are followed there wouldn’t be any stopgaps this time. “For our safety, if the government has to take some restrictive measures, I would respect that and follow the norms,” says Tripathi, who is looking forward to dance reality show Super Dancer-4’s shoot. Actor-singer Lizaa Malik feels the pinch, with the shoots once again postponed and live shows pushed further. “Just as things were opening up and we were getting back on feet, the rising cases have once again reduced the speed, affecting stability, mentally and financially. ”
Actor Megha Chakraborty from Kaatelal & Sons reasons that it’s time to adapt and change. “Ensuring precautions is really crucial if we wish to continue working. As actors, we don’t have the luxury of working from home. Playing safe is the only way.”
Deepshika Nagpal aka Lalita of Ranju Ki Betiyaan finds the very thought of another lockdown scary. It’s time to accept that Covid isn’t going anywhere soon, says Ketki Pandit Mehta, creative producer on Hanak. “ Since we are following proper procedures, I don’t see why we can’t continue to work. Right now it’s important to push the economy. ”
It’s important not to give in to paranoia but deal with the situation practically, feels director producer Naeem Siddiqui, “We have just started shooting for Jogi Sara Ra Ra! We are taking all the precautions on the sets and working with a small crew. “