The entertainment industry is experiencing a sense of déjà vu as new restrictions are imposed in Delhi in response to the recent spike in Covid-19 cases, and Omicron scare. While little is known about the impact of the potential new wave on showbiz, several aftershocks have started coming into focus.
Since the yellow alert went into effect in the Capital, many Covi-19 curbs have been activated, including the closure of cinemas, and other restrictions to avoid gathering of more than 20 people. This has caused problems for the film shoots as well.
“There were many projects — films as well as web shows — which have been put on hold due to new restrictions in Delhi. In fact, there was one web show which was being shot in Faridabad yesterday, and the local authorities didn’t give them permission to shoot only, toh woh log wapis chale gaaye. Ab permission hi nahi milegi toh kaise hi kaam karenge,” says Delhi-based line producer Ravi Sarin.
In agreement to this, line producer Tarun Jain adds, “It has become a very stressful situation for us. I had a shoot lined up in the first week of January, and a crew of a web show shooting in Delhi went on off because of New Year. Now, I don’t know whether we will be able to shoot or not as I don’t think we will get the legal permission”.
That’s because shooting of a project would require more than 20 people to gather at one location, asserts Jain, adding, “crew mein kum se kum 150 log toh hote hain, toh kaise hi hoga. We are very helpless”.
The current situation comes as a setback considering Delhi had recently become a hotspot for shooting in the last two months, with Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Dharmendra, Abhishek Bachchan, Kartik Aaryan and Kriti Sanon coming to the city to film their respective projects. There is concern that the stalemate will last until February, hampering the planned work visit of actors such as Raveena Tandon, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt and Vicky Kaushal.
Line producer Navmeet Singh feels the Delhi after-effects will soon trickle down to other states. “Also, the way members of the film fraternity are contracting the virus is also a cause of concern, which will impact the planned shooting schedules,” he says, sharing that things will get a bit clearer around January 5.
However, not everyone has left hope. Producer and trade expert Girish Johar says, “It is only Delhi that things have been stopped, other states are continuing the shoots with previous protocols. Also, the industry is in holiday mood right now, and work will resume by mid January, hopefully things will get better by then.”
Concluding on a thoughtful note, trade expert Akshaye Rathi says. “Thankfully, shoots in other parts of the country will continue, so there will be disruption there. But rather than pressing the panic button early, every state government should look at a rational solution to manage the health case scenario, which is pragmatic not knee jerk.”