Resuming shooting amid the pandemic: Is the entertainment industry right in doing so?

The entertainment industry faced a long pause due to the preventive measures during this pandemic. While the unlock of the nation began after the long instated lockdown, the business sector started reopening. The question soon asked was- If other businesses can resume, why not work in the film and allied industries?

Resuming shooting amid the pandemic: Is the entertainment industry right in doing so?
Resuming shooting amid the pandemic: Is the entertainment industry right in doing so?

The entertainment industry faced a long pause due to the preventive measures during this pandemic. While the unlock of the nation began after the long instated lockdown, the business sector started reopening. The question soon asked was- If other businesses can resume, why not work in the film and allied industries?  

The feeling of being left out was making people associated with the entertainment industry argue and contest the government’s decision to procrastinate over the matter of resumption of film production activities. Ultimately, the Maharashtra government allowed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which made resumption of shooting activities possible. There were a lot of hygiene protocols to be followed. Actors and unit members of 65 years and above were not granted permission under the new SOPs to participate in the shootings. But the recent cases of coronavirus in the entertainment industry may force it to rethink. Although one doesn’t know whether Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan contracted the coronavirus due to their work schedules during the ongoing lockdown, the very fact that they had resumed work would put a question mark over it all even while coronavirus cases in Bombay continue to grow. Parth Samthaan is the latest actor to have tested COVID-19 positive after he participated in the shooting of TV serial Kasautii Zindagii Kay. This might make the actors and technicians rethink their strategy to restart shootings, dubbings etc. Nobody knows how the actors contracted virus but one can only ponder over the possibility with the Covid-19 scare around. The risk factor is high. 

The very fact is that shooting for a film or serial or web series requires people working in close proximity, something people working in offices can avoid to a large extent. The hygiene and sanitisation protocols may be followed completely but the question is- how much is enough? What makes it sufficient  and safe? 

Trade analyst Komal Nahta says: "If other businesses can resume, why not work in the film and allied industries, it was being argued? The feeling of being left out was making people associated with the entertainment industry resent the government’s decision to procrastinate over the matter of resumption of film production activities. Ultimately, the Maharashtra government okayed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which made resumption of shooting activities possible." 

Industry’s film trade expert Komal Nahta tells us his take on the blunder that the entertainment industry is maybe or maybe not committing. He shares, “One fear is that after the three aforementioned cases, the government itself may withdraw the permission given to film, TV, and web units to shoot. Another feeling is that actors, technicians, and crew members themselves may not agree to participate in shootings and post-production activities. On the one hand, is the question of surviving the pandemic in terms of health and well-being. On the other hand, is surviving the economic depression that the pandemic has brought.  “The fear continues and now, there is another that the government itself may withdraw the permission given to film, TV and web units to shoot. Another feeling is that actors, technicians and crew members themselves may not agree to participate in shootings and post-production activities. Financial void and health stay on two different ends, as of now but how to strike the right balance to resume the usual course of life and work- stays a question.