Bollywood vs Covid-19 in Mumbai - Go all in or sit out?
Mumbai is valiantly navigating its way through the third wave, with cases ranging from 11,000 to 20,000 a day. Where does B-Town mdash that had ground to a halt during the last two waves mdash stand amid the recent surge in cases? While TV shoots have continued undisrupted over the past few weeks, filmmakers have taken a few measured decisions. Vidyut Jammwal, who recently kicked off his maiden production IB 71, has decided to continue shooting in adherence with stringent safety norms. A source reveals, 'Vidyut has been filming at Sunil Maidaan in Film City over the past few days. Akshay Kumar recently shot for a commercial in Madh Island. These instances send out a strong message to the industry that work has to go on. This time around, the industry so far has suffered less than the last two waves.'
Where some films are powering through the adverse times, makers of big-budget movies are waiting it out. A prime example being Yash Raj Films, which staying true to their ethos of taking the onus of their cast and crew's safety, has halted three major productions mdash Shah Rukh Khan's Pathan, Salman Khan's Tiger 3 and its maiden web series. A source from the Tiger 3 unit says, 'The production house was vigilant with testing on set. However, once a case was detected, they immediately decided to halt work as the city's doubling rate was high at the time. The crew strength of Pathan and Tiger 3 is heavy. In such a scenario, a high number of people would be at risk, even if one tested positive. Taking this into account, the directors along with producer Aditya Chopra decided to put the brakes on the shoots.' Work on The Railway Men too will resume only after the cases decline significantly.
Meanwhile, leading OTT platforms have left the decision to individual production houses. However, should they go ahead with work, the studios have been instructed to shoot only in a bio-bubble. Sanjay Leela Bhansali's magnum opus Heeramandi has been deferred in the wake of the cases. The Netflix series, which was to roll in February, will now kick off in March. Amazon Prime Video's long-in-the-making Dongri to Dubai, the shoot of which was halted twice over due to the pandemic, reached the finish line last week.