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Film shoots on hold with lockdown-like restrictions in Maharashtra till May 1

The government's decision will affect the shooting of several films and television shows and bring the industry to a grinding halt

With the Maharashtra government imposing Section 144 in the state owing to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, film, television, web shows and advertising shoots will come to a halt once again.

Under the ''Break The Chain'' order announced by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the guidelines will be implemented throughout the state from 8 pm on Wednesday to 7 am on May 1.

Currently, shootings were happening with precautions like mandatory frequent testing and avoiding scenes with large crowds. The government's decision will affect the shooting of several films and television shows and bring the industry to a grinding halt.

According to a PTI report, BN Tiwari, President of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), said the state government's decision has come as a "huge shock".

"We should have been allowed to work. Films and TV shoots were underway with complete precautions, adhering to all government guidelines. But the complete halt of shootings is a setback. We plan to write a letter to the CM, requesting him to allow us to shoot. We would take utmost precaution, figure out new, stricter guidelines but if the work is stopped, it’ll be a huge loss for us," Tiwari told PTI.

Actor-producer JD Majethia, Chairman TV & Web wing of Indian Films & TV Producers Council (IFTPC), said the body stands with the order but would request the CM to reconsider the decision as film and TV artists were no less than "frontline workers", who are currently working hard to entertain the audience in grim times.

"If we can create a bio bubble and shoot under a controlled environment, we should be allowed to, like we were given permission last year. In a day or two, we will request the CM for this. But as of now, we stand by the state, understand and respect what they have said," Majethia added.

Several members of the film and television fraternity have tested positive in recent times, including Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar, Vicky Kaushal and Karthik Aryan, bringing their ongoing productions to a halt.

The entertainment industry adopted some stringent measures to halt the spread of the virus and was hoping that this would ensure that the government would not impose any restrictions on their shoots.

Last week, the FWICE had formed a monitoring team to ensure that all precautionary measures were strictly followed while shooting. They had also met the Chief Minister and assured him that all SOPs will be followed while shooting.

The Indian Films and TV Producers Council had also said in a statement that all the producers of ongoing projects have been asked to conduct RT-PCR or antigen tests for the crews they’re currently working with.

Majethia had said that all the guidelines are being followed and producers have been urged to create a bio-bubble on the sets and for post-production facilities.

Last year, film and television shoots were put on hold from March to May due to the pandemic, bringing severe losses to the industry.


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