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IFTPC urges Maharashtra govt to allow TV, film post-production

It has also urged the state to provide financial help to M&E workers.

MUMBAI: Days after the Maharashtra government shut down all film and television shoots in the state to combat the spread of Covid2019 infections, the Indian Film and Television Producers Council (IFTPC) has beseeched the Shiv Sena-led ruling dispensation to at least permit post-production work in the studios to help the industry get back on its feet.

In a letter addressed to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, the IFTPC implored the government to consider other possible options that could allow the film and television industry to function while following the strict guidelines. It has formed a coordination committee comprising all the craft unions, broadcasters, and producer bodies to meet with Thackeray next week and discuss possible options of shooting.

“We were immensely touched by the pain and anguish experienced by you while addressing the citizens of Maharashtra state. It was very clear to us that you were perturbed by the measures you were announcing and we share your deepest feelings. We hereby express our wholehearted support to Break the Chain-2 guidelines and fondly hope that your initiative will be successful," the letter read, highlighting that all the stakeholders in the industry have agreed to follow the guidelines in true spirit and ensure that the spread of the deadly virus is restricted totally. 

The association urged the government to allow post-production work for TV and movies which is done in a studio facility in a closed environment so that the already shot portions of content can be edited and completed for final broadcasting. "The telecast of fresh episodes is essential to keep the people who are forced indoors due to the lockdown entertained with fresh content," it stated.

The association also raised concerns over the mounting losses that producers would have to face when the sets that are being built will become unserviceable due to the halt on shootings. “To avoid the same, setting work may be allowed to continue just as you have allowed construction workers, only if the workers are allowed to stay at the set with all precautions. This will also help the workers who are largely migrant workers to get a safe abode and wages in these difficult times," they wrote.

Requests have also been made to include the workers, technicians, and actors in the M&E industry, most of which are daily wage earners as beneficiaries of the government's financial package. If required, the body is ready to share the list of such workers and actors with full details, said the IFTPC. Among other suggestions, it sought setting up vaccination centers at the Film City and in Mira-Bhayander region specially catering to film & TV workers.

“We believe the fight with the dreaded Coronavirus will be a long drawn one. Hence, we already have started working on the same and will submit a detailed operational plan for the industry in the coming days," said the association, seeking a meeting with the CM to chalk out a plan in case the government decides to extend the present lockdown after 1 May.

Maharashtra: Worst affected by Covid2019 second wave.

Maharashtra has been swamped by the second wave of the Covid2019 pandemic, with hospitals running short of essential medical supplies, oxygen cylinders, and beds. On Saturday, the state recorded as many as 67,000 cases of positive infections – the highest single-day spike and lost 419 lives to the novel Coronavirus. The number of daily infections rose to 8,834 cases and deaths to 58 in Mumbai – the financial and entertainment capital of the country.

With no slowdown in sight, the government had announced strict restrictions and directed all malls, theatres, cinema halls, gyms, sports complexes to shut till 1 May. It also stopped all film and TV shoots from 14 April onwards.

Meanwhile, television producers have begun to shift their production set up to other states to continue shooting for the shows which are on air. Neighbouring Goa, Silvassa, and Daman have become the hotspots for most of these TV shoots. Hyderabad, Surat, Rajasthan, and Delhi are other places where shoot locations are being shifted. The production base of TV producer Ekta Kapoor’s Kundali Bhagya and Kumkum Bhagya have been shifted out of Maharashtra to Goa for a month, the cast and crew of Shaadi Mubarak and Barrister Babu are making arrangements to go to Rajasthan’s Bikaner.

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