EXCLUSIVE: Filmmakers on safety protocols; Sooryavanshi producer to discuss release post Rohit Shetty’s return

EXCLUSIVE: Filmmakers on Safety Protocols; Sooryavanshi Producer to Discuss Release Post Rohit Shetty’s Return

After the recent curb in the Covid-19 cases and ease in certain lockdown restrictions, the film shoots and releases seem to be getting back on track. Several actors have already begun shooting. For instance, Amitabh Bachchan and Neena Gupta started shooting for Vikas Bahl’s GoodBye last week, while Aamir Khan’s son Junaid too is busy with Maharaja in Mumbai. Meanwhile, Akshay Kumar recently announced the theatrical release of Bell Bottom, and many more release date announcements are expected to follow in the upcoming days.  So with the industry getting back on track, reached out to a few filmmakers to know about the precautions they are taking to ensure a smooth functioning on the set. While taking about the same, Reliance Entertainment’s Group CEO Shibasish Sarkar informed “What we have done is a simple thing, we have got everyone vaccinated. Just when the central government allowed private bodies to vaccinate, we took quite an early initiative and in Mumbai itself we have got more than 1000 to 1200 people vaccinated,” says Sarkar. He further adds, “Not only Reliance, but employees from Imtiaz Ali’s company, Vikas Bahl’s company and Vikramaditya Motwane’s company are all vaccinated. Besides that, all other precautions like the use of sanitizers, checking temperature, keeping a medical booth among other guidelines are being followed from last September-October itself. However, this time what we did is that, if there are 200 odd people on the floor we ensured all of them are vaccinated before even we started the shoot. That’s the only full proof situation to some extent. Even if people have got their first jab and some have already taken both the doses, then the chance of them getting infected or spreading to others is very limited.” Sarkar further states that Motwane’s Stardust has one to two days schedule in Mumbai, after which they will move to Himachal Pradesh. “Imtiaz is working on three shoots – one production that was stopped midway will resume again, then there is a show called Dr Arora which will get into production, and he is also doing the second season of ‘She’, all of them will roll in a week or 10 days time. One thing is pretty clear, that nobody has the visibility of a medium term, forget about the long term. So people are saying that even if they have a 30 to 40 days window, then they want to wrap up whatever they can,” adds Sarkar,  Are they also working on the new release date of director Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi? “It will come back for discussion but, Rohit is shooting for Khatron Ke Khiladi. He will be back I think by today or tomorrow. So once he comes and settles down, then again we will have a chat and figure it out. We will discuss once the director is back,” says Sarkar.  Meanwhile, Ahmed Khan who has his production Om: the Battle Within and directorial Heropanti 2 in the pipeline states, “We are following all the guidelines that the government has suggested, and our executive producers (EP) are making sure that all the protocols are followed on the set. This is paramount for everyone’s safety. For Om: The Battle Within, one outdoor schedule remains, and we are planning to shoot that in Russia next month. We will be going there for Heropanti 2 as well, and will be filming with all the guidelines suggested by the government there.”Badla producer Sunir Kheterpal says that while we are recovering from the second wave of Covid, it is extremely important to continue following all the safety guidelines suggested by the government everywhere, and they will make sure to do the same on their projects too. “Whenever our projects go on the floors, we will continue with the mandatory Covid tests on the sets on a regular basis besides following all other hygiene protocols. Double masking will be mandatory for the entire team, while getting everyone vaccinated should be and will be a priority. We are sure that these precautions will enable a smooth functioning on the sets.” Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 director Anees Bazmee, who is anticipating to resume shooting from July, says that most people in his team are vaccinated, and those who are not, will not be participating in the shoot. “For now we will also avoid portions where a large crowd is required like the song sequences. Our actors and crew are already vaccinated, so we are a bit comfortable, but we will take all the necessary precautions. People are saying that a third wave is expected within 6 to 8 weeks, which is a concern. The daily wage workers are in a bad condition, so it’s important to start work too, but everyone should take all the precautions while working,” states Bazmee. Meanwhile, the Producers Guild of India’s CEO Nitin Tej Ahuja says that the SOPs circulated by the Guild to their members last year is very comprehensive, and covers each step of every department involved in the process of filmmaking. “As such we haven’t had to make any further revisions to them. What has obviously changed from the situation last year to now is the existence of vaccines to counter Covid and we are actively encouraging our members to vaccinate their employees and crews. We recently conducted a mass vaccination camp where almost 4000 people were vaccinated over six days. Many of our members have also conducted camps of their own. We hope that strict adherence to SOPs is made, and an increasing number of vaccinated crew members will enable safety on sets,” Nitin signs off.

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