Film City to stay open beyond 19 March; no government directive to close down

MUMBAI: Are productions in Mumbai really coming to a grinding halt? 

First came the news that the unions, IMPPA, FWICE, IFTDA, IFTPC and WIFPA, had agreed to cease shoots for TV shows, digital originals and films come 19 March till 31 March 2020, keeping in mind the onward march of the novel Covid-19 virus.  

Last night, the buzz on WhatsApp groups and in some media was that the stoppage would commence from this morning. However, as the day progressed it became clear that filming was continuing in locations like Film City in Mumbai. 

And officials from the organisation were  certain that there would be no closure of Film City even after 19 March. 

“Unless of course an order is received by us from the collector or a government official clearly mandating us to shut shop,” said a Film City official. “We will be meeting with the collector and magistrate later today and depending on whether we get an order we will be open or shut between 19 and 31 March.”

The FWICE senior management has been adamant that its members – which covers associations representing the various technicians, trades and crafts and crew -  would not be reporting for work post 19 March until 31 March.

The broadcasters on their part have not made any announcements about how they would manage their programming line up post 19 March. Would they insist on producers building up a bank shooting overtime over the next three days? Or would they resort to reruns post 19 March? We await announcements from them at the time of writing. 

In the meanwhile, many producers have brought in doctors on shoots, making sure there are enough thermometers while hand sanitisers have been made available on sets of shoots which are continuing at Film City and other locations. 

Let’s wait and watch to see how this pans out.

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