What Maharashtra’s night curfew, weekend lockdown means for TV, film industry

screenmixApril 4, 2021

Maharashtra has announced fresh restrictions on Sunday to control the spread of COVID-19 in the state. With the weekend lockdown and night curfew coming into effect, the film and TV industry is again buckling up for a hit. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray met with Hindi and Marathi film and TV producers virtually to discuss the situation.

With the weekend lockdown from Friday 8 pm to Monday 7 am, films releasing in theatres will be unable to get any footfalls to recover their costs. Two big productions – Kangana Ranaut’s Thalaivi and Akshay Kumar-starrer Sooryavanshi are due to release at the end of this month.

While the state government has allowed film and TV units to continue work over the weekend, shoots will be allowed with only 33 per cent crew members with due safety norms in place. They have also been told not to shoot big dance and fight scenes, putting a question mark on the livelihood of supporting and junior actors, which are largely daily wage earners.

Exhibitor Akshaye Rathi spoke to indianexpress.com about the CM’s meeting with members of the exhibition sector and filmmaker Rohit Shetty, whose Sooryavanshi is slated to release April end.

“The CM obviously put forth his concerns around the high number of cases that we are witnessing in Maharashtra and this meeting was supposed to happen with various business sectors about the support that the government would require from them in case restrictions and curbs need to be imposed. Of course, we all realise that saving lives is and must be the priority. If it requires sacrifices from us, so be it,” he said.

He added that they have also requested aid for the sector which has suffered during the last year. “What we put forth was that exhibition sector, which has been among the sectors that made most sacrifices last year, needs to be compensated by the state. Till now we have not received a penny or one policy-driven decision that has helped us survive over the last year. Therefore, the number of casualties in the sector, in terms of the number of enterprises that have shut down permanently or are staring at bankruptcy, is alarmingly high. And that the sector employs lakhs of people in Maharashtra directly and indirectly also needs to be looked at seriously. The CM has acknowledged the sacrifices of the sector. We have put forth our request for some kind of financial relief and hope the state government will act upon the requests.”
He added that the exhibition sector will now wait for 15 days to see the impact of the new restrictions put by the Maharashtra government. “If the government thinks that these kinds of restrictions will have an immediate effect and are going to prevent the spread of virus completely, it’s great. In that case, we look forward to in 15 days opening with 100 per cent capacity with absolutely no speed breakers going ahead.”

When asked if Sooryavanshi is staring at another shift in its release date, Rathi said, “Possibly. In the worst-case scenario.”