The entertainment industry suffered a lot due to the Covid-19 lockdown and pandemic. From shootings halted to shows going off-air and movie releases being postponed, this year was not good for the industry. But now, the government has issued a new set of guidelines that need to be followed before the shooting commences.
Tanusri Dasgupta, the Executive Vice President of Balaji Telefilms, says they are already in the prepping stage and will begin shooting with a smaller crew, fewer actors in a frame while maintaining social-distancing. She said, “We are actually in the prepping stage now since the time we got permission to go on-floor. We will be working with a much smaller crew than we ever have. So less output for sure. Television in the past years has seen some great production scale and we have pushed all boundaries. Most of those have to be scaled down or one has to find alternative ways to achieve glamour shots.”
"We are talking simpler visuals with social distancing, lesser actors per frame, less complicated sequences, no physical contact. We are talking simpler narratives which are easier to execute like we did in the early days of Shanti and Swabhimaan. It has to begin on paper first. In a way it’s exciting because content will really be king then," she added.
Tanusri and her team are hoping to go on floors by the end of the month and will start shooting for all the shows at the same time. But what precautions are they going to take? "There is a 16-page document, which are the SOPs, that has come in from government and Balaji is implementing all those SOPs as rules on the sets, like sanitization of set thrice a day, changing of masks every three-to-four hour, temperature checks, providing gloves to everybody, there is a nurse on-call and social distancing will be maintained."
Tanusri mentioned that all their shows like Naagin, Kasautii Zindagii Kay and Ye Hai Chahatein, to name a few, will go on-floor at the same time. However, she confessed that it's not going to be easy and said, "No one has ever prepared for this. Covid was never factored in. It’s a new era that we are stepping into. The guidelines are to ensure the safety of life so they must be followed. We are prepping around the guidelines. We are doing mock drills of how the crew will function while on set."
And is it going to be easy to work with restrictions and following the guidelines? "Television is still manageable in many ways as we do a lot of contained shooting, but the digital and film industry, known for its scale and realism will have a tougher time working around these guidelines for sure," Tanusri signed off.