TV producers, filmmakers meet Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, discuss future

Broadcasters and television producers recently had a virtual meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Udhav Thackeray to chart out ways for the industry to resume work on a limited scale. Producer JD Majethia revealed that the CM doesn’t want the work to move out of Maharashtra but wants the industry to put protocols in place and take all necessary precautions.

All shootings and production work has been stalled since a lockdown was announced across India to stem the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. In an interview with Mumbai Mirror, JD Majethia said, “He has asked us for a plan to work in studios in areas like FilmCity and several others beyond Dahisar. He doesn’t want shooting to move out of Maharashtra and the committee has started identifying floors at studios.”

He also told the tabloid, “We have requested immediate permission to put up monsoon shades and look into fire safety and hygiene. TV industry will resume work before films, given that they have sets standing and shoots can take place in a controlled environment. It’s too early to say when shooting will start because new developments are happening every day. But a dialogue has started, which gives us hope that things will start soon.”

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Majethia also told Hindustan Times, “Our CM has said that shoots can happen in green zones and in places where studios are far from civilisation. He has asked his principal secretary to take charge, make a report and initiate the job to allow monsoon maintenance of sets and post-production work. People have started shooting across the world. We all are aware that this virus is going to co-exist and we will have to work our way out through it. For example, an elaborate wedding scene might be changed to a court marriage or the couple getting married with only the immediate family involved.”

Some of the measures that the CM wants to be taken to ensure safety of everyone involved are as follows: While work will not be allowed in red zones and heavily populated areas, proper care for regular sanitization of sets and availability of a doctor and an ambulance on stand-by must be taken. The technical crew will also be provided with sanitisers, make-shift wash basins and masks.

While post-production work may resume in some time, the shooting is not expected to resume anytime soon. Stressing on the risks involved, actor Dilip Joshi of Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah told Hindustan Times, “It’s going to be difficult and I don’t think this is the right time to start shooting. We should wait for another month before taking a call. Despite the idea of having a limited crew, we wouldn’t be aware whether people are following the right hygiene. Even if we plan to shoot with a limited cast, it will be a challenge for writers to conceive a scene.”

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