The coronavirus pandemic has bought life to a standstill across the globe. As multiple importance film and television associations have come together to decide a halt on the shootings happening in India, the big names in the Indian television industry are all in sync with the decision not gather around for shoots till March 31
What do you think about the decision? Agree or disagree?
Rajan Shahi: “I totally agree and endorse the decision. At this point, nothing else matters more than human lives and the security and the health of every member of the unit is of paramount importance. This is above any consideration; safety is above everything else be it the telecast.”
Binaifer Kohli: “This is the best decision to stop shooting. It’s like we are sitting on a time bomb. It was making me feel very guilty that we were unable to stop shooting. It has given me great relief I agree completely with the rest of film and television associations to stop the shoots till March 31, in order to stop CoronaVirus from affecting further lives.”
Mahesh Pandey: “Nothing is more valuable than human life, which can’t be compromised for anything be it money or fame. Our life will not be affected much and I will try my best to safeguard the interests of my unit. The industry will have a strong impact, but the need of the hour is that we have to stop this virus from spreading. I extend my wholehearted support to this decision taken by the industry and the first step towards combating the virus is by social distancing. The whole onus does not only lie with the government alone but also each one of us can in our own capacity take remedial measures to prevent the spread.”
Amir Jaffar: “Yes, it was necessary. More of a precaution than anything. The producers had been debating about it since last week but it’s not just about the shoots, but also telecasts and the channels had also to come on board. Thankfully the channels are cooperating as well. Everyone is coming together for everyone else.”
Should this happen now when the government hasn’t asked so? Because not just shootings, there are many industries that have a number of employees?
Rajan Shahi: “At this time it is better to be safe than sorry and I totally endorse the decision taken by the respective bodies. In today’s time prevention is the best thing we can do like avoid mass gatherings. I’m telling my family to avoid gatherings, so why should I not tell my other family, which is my unit.”
Binaifer Kohli: “Even if the government hasn’t asked this, we should self-quarantine ourselves but are not taking it seriously. There are many employees in different industries who have been affected but if they have not taken the decision, it doesn’t mean that we won’t either,” says the producer.”
Amir Jaffar: The government is doing its bit in controlling issuing advisories but we can’t or shouldn’t wait for their orders. I am hoping in a couple of weeks’ time the government efforts are going to show positive results and our steps too will contribute towards the same. As they say, prevention is better than cure.
Who do you think this will affect the most and what do you suggest should be done about that?
Rajan Shahi: First of all, we should take it day by day and step by step and take care. The precaution is stopping mass gatherings. Each day will be monitored and we will decide the further course of action.
Binaifer Kohli: The industry will suffer economically but not in any other way. What is economics compared to human life? If something would happen to anyone, the whole industry would feel guilty about it. I think this is a superb decision that has been taken in compliance with channel heads, producers, the workers. I think everybody together has taken this decision. It will affect the daily wagers a lot. Be it the spot boy, the lightman and everyone else, but if the producer, every broadcaster thinks that they are part of a family, then we should take care of them. We should at least give them half-day of wages. Suppose they are affected and we have promised them to stay at home and we will take care of them and now that they have made this choice, I think we should support them. They are part of our families. In my unit, there are people, who have been working for 25 years. They are my family and I will look after them.
Mahesh Pandey: On any given day there are more than 100 people on the set and they are on daily wages. We will ensure that they don’t suffer and pay them their dues without any pay cut as this is beyond anyone’s control. We are in this together and that’s how we will be able to overcome this pandemic.
Amir Jaffar: The decision to call offshoots is going to affect the broadcasters and the producers, financially. The workers on our shoots will be taken care of financially, so they needn’t worry much. Right now all efforts are to contain.
Three days shoot will be on, so what are the precautions taken by you?
Rajan Shahi: We have tried to cut down on the unit strength, minimize the number of people on existing shoots. We have stocked sanitizers and have urged everyone not to create a panic and give out false rumors, thermals have been installed on the set, a team of doctors is monitoring the unit and checking if they have and symptoms. I pray and hope for the well being of not just the people in the industry but the world over.
Binaifer Kohli: “We have taken all precautions on our set. I have got a fumigation machine, I have got a doctor coming on the set, there are sanitizers and compulsory washing of hands, enough supply of water, tea, coffee, and every other precaution. But nothing compares to precaution especially for a disease that has no cure. We have to unanimously take it. There is no cost to a happy and healthy life,” she says. Adding to that, she says, “This is the best decision to stop shooting. It’s like we are sitting on a time bomb. It was making me feel very guilty that we were unable to stop shooting. It has given me great relief.”
Amir Jaffar: We have taken the necessary steps towards the prevention of COVID-19. We have circulated circulars on the set and also verbally making people aware of following basic hygiene such as using hand sanitizers, washing hands, consuming warm drinks and covering mouth while coughing. We also have medical practitioners visiting the set to check up on the unit.