Till the government did not grant the film, web and television industries permission to resume shootings, there was a sense of heartburn among people of the entertainment industry. If other businesses can resume, why not work in the film and allied industries, it was being argued? The feeling of being left out was making people associated with the entertainment industry resent the government’s decision to procrastinate over the matter of resumption of film production activities. Ultimately, the Maharashtra government okayed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which made resumption of shooting activities possible. There were a lot of hygiene protocols to be followed but something was better than nothing, it was felt. Actors and unit members of 65 years and above were not granted permission under the new SOPs to participate in the shootings, but even that was taken by the industry people in their stride. Of course, there was heartburn among many senior actors who felt, they were being discriminated against.

But the recent cases of coronavirus in the entertainment industry may force it to rethink. Although one doesn’t know whether Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan contracted the coronavirus due to their work schedules during the ongoing lockdown, the very fact that they had resumed work would put a question mark over the philosophy of hurrying back to work even while coronavirus cases in Bombay continue to grow. Parth Samthaan is the latest actor to have tested COVID-19 positive after he participated in the shooting of TV serial Kasautii Zindagii Kay. This might make the actors and technicians rethink their strategy to restart shootings, dubbings etc. Is it the right thing, they are doing? Frankly, nobody has the perfect answer if only because it cannot be pinpointed whether Amitabh, Abhishek and Parth contracted the coronavirus at the work place or not. But a lot of actors, technicians and unit hands would now feel inclined to think that the risk factor would be much higher if they ventured out of their homes to work. By its very nature, shooting for a film or serial or web series necessitates people working in close proximity, something people working in offices can avoid to a large extent. The hygiene and sanitisation protocols may be followed completely but the question is how complete is complete?

One fear is that after the three aforementioned cases, the government itself may withdraw the permission given to film, TV and web units to shoot. Another feeling is that actors, technicians and crew members themselves may not agree to participate in shootings and post-production activities.

On the one hand is the question of surviving the pandemic in terms of health and well-being. On the other hand is surviving the economic depression that the pandemic has brought.