In the wake of the second wave and with Maharashtra going into another lockdown, most TV producers moved out of the state to shoot their shows amid the pandemic. But now that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has allowed television and film shoots to resume in Mumbai with restrictions, makers have mixed feelings over the decision.
For the unversed, a few days ago, the CM shared the unlock plan for the entertainment industry, announcing that shoots will be allowed in a bio bubble till 5 pm in Mumbai.
Amir Jaffar, producer of the show 'Qurbaan Hua', says shooting amid the new restrictions will be a challenge. “It would be difficult to create a bio bubble scenario in Mumbai as most people would want to go back home and spend time with their families after pack-up. Putting up a whole unit at one place and arranging all the facilities on the set would be quite challenging. When we went to Goa and some other outdoor places, we created a bio bubble there. It was easy to set that up because everybody was living at one resort and there was no interaction with outside people. We are planning to come back to Mumbai after June 15 and resume shooting there. So, let's see how things will work." Amir said.
Amir also emphasised on the possible impact of new restrictions on the content. “Churning out 24-25 minutes of an episode in eight hours is extremely tough. This is only feasible for the makers who have a bank of episodes. The real issues will start when makers would not have a bank. The restricted shooting timing would hamper the content. It takes time to set everything up.
“It's not like that you just come on sets and start shooting. From lighting to make-up and filming, everything follows a procedure. It would be really tough to come up with our best results in such limited time...but I am glad that we are now allowed to shoot,” he added.
Producer Binaiferr Kohli is ready to follow all the restrictions. According to her, people’s ‘rozi-roti’ and safety matter the most. “I am happy that the government has allowed us to shoot. It’s a question of our rozi-roti. Think of the spotboys and other workers who work and get their income on a daily basis…how long can they sit idle? We all have suffered setbacks..it’s time to get things back on track..and for that we will do whatever we can,” she said.
If you are shooting in a bio bubble then it doesn't make a difference if you are in Mumbai or in some other city. The time given for shooting is less, of course. When it comes to daily soaps, even 12 hours seem to be less. So, meeting deadlines between 7 am to 5 pm will be a task.
We need more hours to shoot for daily soaps. Government should allow extended hours for the entertainment industry as it provides employment to numerous people. The lockdown restrictions have reduced, which is a positive sign. I am sure producers and channels will be able to convince the government to extend shoot hours.
I am really excited and happy that we are allowed to shoot again. Finally, after so long we can continue our work — no more sitting at home and no more financial crisis. But, on the flip-side, we have a limited time slot (7 am to 5 pm). Previously, the shoots went on till 9 pm. But its alright... the pandemic is not over yet, so we need to respect the government's decision.
As an actor, yes I would be happy if the time was reduced from a 12 hours shift to 10 hour because you got time for yourself and for your family. But, from a producer's perspective, it's not possible to shoot an episode of 30 minutes in 10 hours. The telecast days should be reduced from six to four, only then it's feasible to deliver the episodes in the new time-limit.
Government has taken this decision keeping everyone’s health and safety in mind so we should all adhere to the rules. Although there will difficulties in shooting and delivering the episodes because we shoot for 12 hours a day and the new time limitation will not let us achieve our daily goals.
I am happy that shoots are starting in Mumbai, but I don't know how working in a bio bubble is going to be possible in the city. Actors are not going to stay on the set, they will go back home. At the most you can keep the unit staff on the set, but I don't think you can call it a bio bubble then. Also, the new time limitation is too less for a daily soap — sometimes even 12 hours are also less for us.
The time is not sufficient because some TV shows's shoots go on for almost 20 hours. But I'm glad that shoots have started... It will help the daily wagers, technicians, makeup artists, and others earn their bread and butter.
—with inputs from CJ Desk