In a major relief for Bollywood film producers and TV and OTT serial makers, the Maharashtra government on Saturday hinted at allowing film shoots beyond 4 pm, the current permissible time.
Agreeing to consider the request of the Producers Guild of India for night shoots, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, during a virtual interaction, attached certain riders with the possible permission. These include strict adherence to Covid-19 norms, proper coordination with the local police about locations and timings, periodical RT-PCR tests of crew members and complete vaccination at the earliest.
The CM said, “Shootings need to take place in a disciplined manner… as we can’t afford any carelessness.” He said the state government is taking steps to lift restrictions in phases, cautiously and safely, and for this people’s cooperation would be required, which means complete vaccination and not ignoring coronavirus.
The CM directed that the Mumbai police should seek necessary information about shooting schedules and locations from producers in advance. He said the police should appoint a coordinator to give approvals only when convinced that stipulated norms are being followed.
The Producers Guild of India CEO, Nitin Tej Ahuja said, “In a letter to the CM, we had shared comprehensive standard operating procedures being followed by our members, as also our efforts to get film crews vaccinated. The CM and other attendees, like the medical task force and the police commissioner, gave us a patient hearing and shared pertinent points, too.”
Thackeray said the government does not like to impose restrictions, but the virus is still there in Maharashtra, Kerala and other states. He said, “Despite the provision of a bio bubble, the virus was detected during sports competitions and other programmes. We are not completely out of the second wave, but the third wave seems to have hit other countries. Therefore, we need to take full care for effective implementation of health rules.”
The Producers Guild of India was represented by Ahuja, Riteish Sidhwani, Stuti Ramchandra, Madhu Bhojwani and Rakesh Mehra, with the Marathi film industry represented by Subodh Bhave, Nagraj Manjule and Ravi Jadhav.