Production houses rope in external Covid2019 compliance teams

The move was prompted after an incident on the set of Bhakarwadi.

MUMBAI: After seven members of Hats Off Productions’ show Bhakarwadi tested positive for Covid2019 and one of them, a tailor present on the set, succumbed to the infection on 21 July, the makers of the show found themselves in a difficult situation.

The shoot was immediately shut for four days. When shooting resumed on the sets of Bhakarwadi, hygiene and other safety protocols were revisited. Hats Off Productions producer JD Majethia also purchased a UV machine to ensure better screening and the crew was given three vitamin tablets, immunity boosters and warm lemon water daily to boost immunity.

After these unfortunate incidents, several production houses have hired Covid2019 compliance agencies to monitor the situation. Majethia has also consulted a Covid2019 compliance company called TISA looked after by Manish Popat and Harish Salve.

Majethia says, “When we resumed shooting, we asked TISA to visit our sets. They joined us on a Zoom conference call with our unit and guided us. They suggested and supplied UV machines. They taught us the right way of wearing a mask too.”

TISA is also engaged with other companies and shows such as Green Valley Studio, Endemol Shine India’s show Fear Factor, Studio Next’s Ek Duje Ke Vaste, an outdoor shoot happening in Baramati for Banijay India, BBC Studios and is in talks with Amazon Prime too.

Manish Popat who last worke with Contiloe Pictures and member of  TISA team says, "Our whole purpose of initiating the Covid2019 compliance initiative was from the point of view of "safety as a service ". From the beginning we have been of the opinion that for all to be Covid2019 compliant, presence of a health and safety officer is critical. Trained manpower has to ensure that everyone on set is Covid2019 compliant. All our offering insist on a health and safety officer and we are happy to say that all the clients working with us have believed in us and accepted our solutions lock, stock and barrel.

In an earlier interaction with, Contiloe Pictures CEO Abhimanyu Singh had mentioned that the studio has hired an external agency called Momentum India to look after sanitisation, fumigation and other safety measures. According to him, it is not the studio’s forte to understand Covid2019 related measures so it is better to hire an outside agency that understands all the nuances.

Swastik Productions producer Rahul Kumar Tewary highlights that the studio has hired a Covid2019 action team that looks at SOP measures. He has permanently purchased the sanitisation and fumigation equipment.

He says, “We are rigorously implementing all the guidelines mentioned by the government and we have been fortunate that nothing has happened on our set. They are responsible to look after the number of people who are regularly visiting our sets. They also ensure that the people who are present on the set do not move out or interact with outside people. Access to people visiting from Mumbai is also limited. Even if they come, they have to get quarantined for 14 days. They are responsible for the daily thermal screening and maintaining data. They constantly monitor if social distancing is maintained or not.”

Tewary’s action team is not involved in any production work. Private vehicles and cars are fumigated once they exit the set. The set is also fumigated after every shoot.

Creative Eye Limited MD Dheeraj Kumar already has a full-fledged system in place at Kailash Plaza. He is of the opinion that rather than hiring an outside agency it is more suitable to have own people to monitor all the SOP measures.

Kumar mentions that the protocols are followed at both the production set and office. Kumar has a post-production unit, edit team, dubbing and sound team present in the office. Thrice a week, the entire building and the office premise is sanitised. He too has purchased the equipment permanently and prefers doing the task in-house as the external agency may be neglectful.

Whether in-house or external, a Covid2019 compliance team seems to be a must for production houses until the pandemic recedes. 

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