With Covid-19 cases rising at an alarming speed across country, with Maharashtra being one of the worst hit states, the future of all film productions in the state, particularly in Mumbai, seems quite bleak.
The Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPPA) has issued a statement to filmmakers requesting them to adhere to new SOPs for shooting, including mandatory negative RT PCR report of limited crew and those involved.
The statement read, “It is most important that anyone doing shooting today or planning to do shooting in the near future has to take all precautions and follow the SOPs issued by the government of Maharashtra while allowing commencement of shooting during the Covid pandemic and which have been followed by producers but in view of the severity of the situation prevailing today, it is the duty of each producer to ensure that adequate safety and security is in place to avoid any spread of the disease which has been with us for quite some time and we all have to take care if we intend to survive. Please note as earlier informed by us work with people who bring negative RT PCR report and who have their insurance for Covid 19 because for short schedule it becomes difficult for producers to arrange insurance…”
According to trade analyst Atul Mohan, while quite a few shoots are going on, the IMPPA has reminded producers to strictly follow protocols while filming. Noting ha some were not adhering to the rules properly when things were starting to look normal a few months ago, he adds, “We can’t blame them because we all started taking it a bit lightly but now I think whatever film is on floors, makers are very cautious.”
A source tells us, “The shooting of a song for Karan Johar’s film Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, has been cancelled.”
Furthermore, the schedule for Kuttey, starring Arjun Kapoor, is said to have been impacted by the actor’s Covid-19 diagnosis plus the present scenario. It has also been reported that filming shoot for Unchai has been halted for the time being.
The source adds, “A big banner production starring a superstar has been postponed for the time being.”
Filmmaker Anand Pandit is stuck with one of his films whose shooting has been impacted by the restricted movement situation in Maharashtra.
“My Marathi film Victoria still has a few schedules left in India and abroad and those will have to be put on hold for now. Some other projects that are in pre-production stage will continue to be developed online as much as possible. We need to focus first of all on the health and well being of the people we are working with and then proceed from there. We will wait and gauge where the current surge is taking us and then worry about releases. Right now, safety should be everyone’s primary concern,” he tells us.
While filming will be put on hold for affected projects, dubbing and post-production work will continue. Actor Ajay Devgn is currently dubbing for his new film. Even music videos and advertisement continue to be shot.
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh says, “Some are continuing with shoots because sets have been erected and it would be a huge loss if they do not go through with it but even they are doing it with 15 to 20 member crew. And there is no way any new project with begin at least till mid-February given the situation in Mumbai.”
Lastly, trade expert Joginder Tuteja says that things will be stalled for about a month or so, but the level of uncertainty that existed in 2020 and 2021, is no longer present.
“At that point people had no clue. There were no SOPS, no vaccination. It was a total state of chaos. Now in 2022 I don’t see it happening. The good thing is the infection is not long lasting. I don’t think the stalling would be beyond 4 to 5 weeks. People know they can work in contained environment. It is not as bad as before,” he shares.