Friday, May 7, 2021

The show goes on, outside Maharashtra: Films, TV shoots shift to other states amid restrictions

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The Hindi entertainment industry primarily operates out of Maharashtra, but now, everything has come to a standstill as all kinds of shoots — TV, films, web, ads — have been suspended till April 30, in the state.

What’s keeping hopes alive, though, is work carrying on in other states across India. The team of Mohit Suri’s Ek Villain returns, including Arjun Kapoor and Tara Sutaria, has jetted off to Goa. Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon starrer Bhediya has had its team stationed in Arunachal Pradesh for over a month now.

Bhushan Kumar, co-producer of Ek Villain returns, tells us, “The sudden surge in Covid cases is definitely worrisome. We stand by the decision to not shoot in the city (Mumbai), but to meet the shoot deadlines, we’ve found the perfect location in Goa, and we’re abiding by the protocols laid down by the governments. Right now, it’s important to take precautions and maintain safety of everyone on set, too. With regards to the shoots of our other films, we will soon take a call.” A source tells us Adipurush was being shot in Mumbai, until the shutdown came into effect. “But it was anyway a shoot against the green screen, so there wasn’t much hassle,” we are told. Pathaan, Shah Rukh Khan and John Abraham’s next with director Sidharth Anand was also being shot in Mumbai, but had to stop.

The team of Satyameva Jayate 2 in Lucknow (Credit: Instagram)

Last year where when the pandemic hit, filmmaker Milap Zaveri, too, had changed the location of his film, Satyameva Jayate 2, from Mumbai to Lucknow and the entire schedule went off without a hitch. “While we support the lockdown and are standing united in helping the state and nation overcome this crisis, the show must go on. So many livelihoods are at stake. So, yes, films, web shows and serials, which can relocate their shoot out of Maharashtra are doing so to ensure that they don’t suffer financial losses, and manage to finish their shoots. It’s a practical move. SJ2 last year also relocated to Lucknow/Varanasi and we completed our shoot without any untoward incident.”

Reliance Entertainment has as many as four projects in various stages of production on floors currently, but all shoots have had to be stalled. Shibasish Sarkar, Group CEO, tells us it’s not feasible always to change the location.

“We’re not in a position to shift. Having said so, if there’s a producer or director who has done it, depending upon the story, it’s a good option in this situation. But the number of cases are increasing. How long it will be possible to manage, I am not sure. Jab tak ho sakta hai shoot, karna chahiye,” he opines.

The TV show Sasural Simar Ka 2 is being shot in Agra.
The TV show Sasural Simar Ka 2 is being shot in Agra.

Sarkar goes on to add that dismantling a set is also not possible in case an alternate location works out. “We had four-five shoots, some shows and some films, they’ve stopped in different states. We’re waiting for the next 15 days to see the situation. You can change the location, but can’t dismantle an already existing set,” he says.

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh says a lot depends on the story when it comes to shifting to a different shoot location. “If a particular place meets the requirement, and the artistes are comfortable, then there’s no harm. The location is decided by the script. The scare is everywhere, not just Mumbai or a particular region. It’s a global pandemic. So, if a setting matches, you can certainly shoot following the rules,” he says.

Several TV shows have shifted their shoot locations to various other cities. Sasural Simar 2, which goes on air next week, recently shot in Agra and plan to shoot more from there only. Makers say outdoor shoots works out well in such scenarios.

Producer of Chhoti Sardaarni, Ram Singh, tells us why they decided to shift the shoot from Mumbai to Delhi, “The situation is such, by not giving a telecast, it is a problem for the channel also. We had an option to work, so channel decided to go. It is not an overall lockdown in India. It is not tough to shift the location, you have to just see how you can create a bio bubble. We have created that at the place where we are staying in Delhi. No one is going out or coming in, so we don’t face any problem. We have already started shooting, Sunday was our second day. We took all permissions.”

Pooja Banerjee, who stars in Kumkum Bhagya, says their shoot has been shifted to Goa. “I am sure the budgets are going to get bigger. We are going through this because the show must go on. The public has to stay at home, and wants their shows, and we are trying to fulfill it,” she says.

A QUICK LOOK AT TV SHOWS AND THEIR NEW SHOOT LOCATIONS

Kundali Bhagya – Goa

Kumkum Bhagya – Goa

Kyun Rishton Mein Katti Batti – Surat, Gujarat

Imlie – Hyderabad’s Ramoji Film City

Mehndi Hai Rachne Waali – Hyderabad’s Ramoji Film City

Shaurya Aur Anokhi Ki Kahani – Umbergaon

Saath Nibhana Saathiya – Gujarat

Ghum Hai Kisikey Pyaar Mein – Delhi or Hyderabad

Anupamaa – Goa or Rajkot

Teri Meri Ikk Jindari – Jaipur

Hamariwali Good News – Haryana

Choti Sardaarni – Outskirts of Delhi

Pratigya – Ramoji or Goa

Prem Bandhan – Silvassa in Dadra and Nagar Haveli

Yeh Hai Chahatein – Goa

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