With increasing COVID positive cases in Bollywood, actors are now getting wary of starting shoots.
Alia Bhatt was the first actress ready to have a go with the film Gangubai Kathaiwadi at film city. But then many shoots at Film City have been disrupted and Alia and the team at Sanjay Leela Bhansali Productions have decided not to endanger anyone’s life by shooting immediately.
With leading actor Parth Samthaan of one of the most popular TV serials testing positive soon after the news of three actors Bachchans – Amitabh, Abhishek and Aishwarya testing positive many shoots in Film City which include other sets of Ekta Kapoor at Killick Nixon Studios are also in trouble. Parth was shooting for the serial Kassauti Zindagi Kay produced by Ekta Kapoor and many other serials of Ekta are also in the same vicinity.
The dubbing studio Sound N Vision too has been temporarily closed after Abhishek who dubbed there tested positive. The other actor Amit Sadh also did a test after Abhishek’s infection and his reports came out negative.
Amitabh Bachchan too has been shooting for some odd commercials and promos for his upcoming show on TV Kaun Banega Crorepati and everyone who has been in touch with him for a fortnight or less are being tested at the moment.
Last week two more shoots of popular TV serials like Mahanayak on the life of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar as well as Mere Sai on Sai Baba were stopped after COVID cases were found on the sets. While it was a lightman on the sets of Mere Sai, it turned out to be the lead actor in Mere Sai.
Before the lockdown took place around three dozen television serials had their sets erected at Film City Goregaon. After the restrictions were lifted and shootings allowed, around a dozen shoots, started but a Covid positive case each in two of the TV shows has resulted in not just the two shoots getting stopped and the rest of the team going into quarantine, but has also put a question mark over shootings that can start immediately.
“In case of the popular serial Mere Sai, one of the lightmen had contracted the virus and hence he was hospitalised while the rest of the cast and crew have been quarantined for the time being and will be tested when required. Another big show was the one on Babasaheb Ambedkar where the lead actor was diagnosed with the virus. Before the lockdown around 35 shoots of tv serials were going on at Film City. Now around 12 has started, but two of them have had to pack up. The other ten are still shooting now with increased precautions,” informs the secretary of the Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association (IMPPA). Shootings of TV serials started on July 1 at Film City in Mumbai.
This infection has now sent shivers across Bollywood as well with film shootings that are to start in Mumbai in the immediate future. “There are going to be films like Gangubai Kathiawadi and Bosco Martis that were to start shooting soon. But now we don’t know when they will as well as other new films that are scheduled to go on the floors are going to be affected,” says Nagrath.
“It is not a good idea to start shoot now. The TV producers erred in starting shooting for their shows because of pressure from the channels. But there is no such deadline for films. Unless people pick a proper green zone to shoot after making sure that everyone has been in quarantine before, it is not advisable for Bollywood shoots to start. The team at Bhansali Productions would rather wait than risk the lives of many actors and technicians and the other crew participating in the shoot. Hence shoots will need to be indefinitely postponed now,” says a film trade analyst.