According to guidelines issued by the Maharashtra Government actors above the age of 65 are advised to stay home once the shooting resumes after the lockdown.
Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri minces no words when he wonders who framed these guidelines on behalf of the Maharashtra government.
“I’ve read all the guidelines. I feel they have been framed by some IAS officers or Babus in the government in consultation with some filmmakers who don’t know how films are made. The guidelines show no understanding of how our film industry works. Though I appreciate the effort taken to frame the elaborate guidelines, I am afraid it has left the film industry confused. And as it turns out, they want to turn film directors in municipality commissioners who would be just checking on the sets to see if the guidelines are being followed instead of shooting,” says Vivek caustically.
About the guideline stating there should be a doctor, nurse and ambulance on each set, Vivek wonders, “There are no doctors and ambulances available for heart patients and COVID patients. Then how do they expect us to get these to stand by on the sets? Hundreds of shootings take place every day. Please calculate the number of doctors and ambulances we require.”
Now, about actors above 65 not being allowed to shoot Vivek Agnihotri says, “This means Mr Amitabh Bachchan, Mr Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty can’t shoot. So we cannot make family-oriented films. We cannot have fathers and grandfathers in our films and serials. Everyone has to be young.”
Vivek also wonders about the guideline stating the entire unit cast and crew should stay together in one accommodation. “How is that possible in Mumbai where space is a constant problem? I think this is a very impractical SOP. I am sure amendments have to be made.”
Vivek feels the SOPs should be prepared in consultation with responsible filmmakers. “I don’t know whom the Maha government consulted before preparing these guidelines. I’ve heard many filmmakers respond to it by saying, ‘Arrey yeh sab chalta hai. Let them say what they want to say. We will make films the way we want to’. In that case, what is the point of these guidelines?”