Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday asked the entertainment industry to prepare an action plan on the limited resumption of film shooting and post-production activities by adhering to social distancing norms amidst the coronavirus-induced lockdown. Uddhav Thackeray, however, ruled out the reopening of cinema halls or theatres anytime soon.
Shooting for films as well as other production activities remained suspended since mid-March in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The government would consider action plan on how shooting and post-production activities can be resumed in a limited way by adhering to social distancing and other norms,” Uddhav Thackeray told a delegation of representatives of the entertainment industry, especially from the Marathi theatre, television, and cinema.
The prominent demands of the industry included saving single-screen theatres, helping poor music composers, and waiving GST on film production.
Uddhav Thackeray told the delegates that he didn’t believe that clamping of lockdown meant everything coming to a standstill.
“We have allowed industries, trade and shops to open by taking all the precautions. Commercial activities have also started in the state barring the containment zones,” an official statement quoted Thackeray as saying on the occasion.
The chief minister said the huge entertainment industry comprises various elements like actors, backstage artists, technicians and workers.
Uddhav Thackeray said his government would consider providing rent concessions to production houses which have their sets erected in the Film City and supporting folk artists.
Referring to the demand of producers to allow the resumption of shootings and post-production work, the chief minister said the demand can be considered in “non-red” zones in the state.
“However, care will have to be taken to ensure that locations for shooting a film are not situated in the containment zones and that the number of people on the sets and their hygiene taken care of,” he stated.
For editing studios, guidelines will have to be issued regarding space and air conditioning systems, he said.
The chief minister also asked the state Culture department and producers to check if some shootings can take place before the start of the monsoon, the statement said.
The shooting of about 70 Hindi and 40 Marathi films, 10 web series had stopped because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected the livelihood of more than three lakh workers and technicians, it said.
As per estimates, 30,000 episodes of television content are produced every year. “The total investment in Hindi television is Rs 5000 crore and in Marathi it is Rs 250 crore,” the statement quoted the delegation telling the CM.