While TV shows were scheduled to resume shoots from yesterday, the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) and the Cine And TV Artistes’ Association (CINTAA) issued a circular on Monday (June 22), stating otherwise. The circular clearly stated that no shoots can start till issues pertaining to sanitation, safety, payment schedule, insurance and shift timings are sorted. However, the shoots of two TV shows — ‘Pyar Ki Luka Chuppi’ and ‘Shakti – Astitva Ke Ehsaas Ki’ — resumed yesterday at Naigaon.
Pawan Kumar, the producer of both the shows, told BT, “Yes, we have started shooting, as we have the necessary permission from Maharashtra government. We are taking all the necessary steps for the safety of our team. It is important that our staff, especially those on daily wages, get to earn their livelihood. We are sanitising the set every hour and taking all precautions.”
While actors are happy to return to the set, they are taking time to adapt to the ‘new normal’. Aparna Dixit, who plays the lead in Pyaar Ki Luka Chuppi, said, “Everything is different now. Very few people were present on the set; the others were coming only when required. Everyone was wearing masks except us, because we can’t wear masks on camera. Our temperature was checked every hour, and we had to sanitise our hands frequently. I carried my own make-up kit, and since I was the only female artiste on the set, there was just one hairstylist and make-up person. It is natural to get apprehensive, but at the end of the day, the show has to go on.”
Other producers hope to start shooting in a few days
Producer JD Majethia, chairman of Indian Film and Television Producers Council (IFTPC), said, “We were intending to restart shoots between June 23 and 25. But, we wanted to ensure that the permissions, standard operating procedures and insurance are in place. There was no insurance coverage for COVID-19earlier, and since we have people from different age and income groups working with us, it took time to frame a comprehensive policy. Hopefully, we will start work in two-four days’ time.”
CINTAA, too, feels that shoots should not resume till some key concerns are addressed. Amit Behl, senior joint secretary and chairman, Outreach Committee, CINTAA, said, “Many actors have complained that they have been asked to sign a declaration form, which is scary, as no one is taking the onus in case of a calamity on the set. Some of them have also been threatened with replacement if they don’t agree to the conditions laid down by the producers, especially in terms of pay cut. Releasing pending dues, lack of evidence of sets being sanitised, fixing working hours, better payment structure and no clarity on the COVID-19 insurance coverage are our areas of concern at this point. We are awaiting a response from the producers’ body.”