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No hugging, no kissing, safe distancing, protection compulsory : whenever Film & TV shoots resume

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Chaitanya Padukone 

The corona virus pandemic has resulted in stringent, strict preventive guidelines-protocol and SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) as jointly decided by the Producers Guild of India and the Film Producers Association (IMPPA) after an elaborate joint discussion with the Cine & TV Artistes Association (CINTAA)  Association elected representatives, that one is expecting regular shooting of Films & TV shows to possibly resume latest by end-July 2020                     

.“Back To Action—Cut to: Staying Safe” is the mandatory mantra given by the Producers’ Guild in their exhaustive, detailed over 33 pages manual-SOP that needs to be implemented diligently before and during shooting under effective supervision, by the entire cast, (all departments) crew, supporting-auxiliary staff and pre-authorized visitors/audience  ( especially for reality TV shows) if any     Some of the must-comply-with S-O-P guidelines  include :   

* Each crew member must wear a triple-layer medical mask and gloves during the entire shoot.*  Hand washing & sanitizing is mandatory for everyone on entry, exit &during the shoot .* Avoid handshakes, hugs, kisses and other physical greetings.* Sharing of cigarettes should be totally stopped on sets / offices/ studios. * Two-metre ( six feet plus)  safe social distance between colleagues must be maintained.* Avoid having crew and cast members over 60 years of age for shooting for at least next three months.

Mr T P Aggarwal, (IMPPA President) said that the Guild’s guidelines do not address all the concerns of middle-rung and small producers. “The Guild has most producers who make big-budget  movies. We will also be looking at the concerns of producers of smaller projects. We will suggest a reduction in the fees of actors, technicians, and workers,” he said. Last week, IMPPA had appealed to the producers to clear all pending dues. Noted actor Amit Bahl, senior joint secretary of Cine and TV Artistes Association (CINTAA), said: “We have already submitted our recommendations along with SOPs of 20 countries regarding restarting production work. This includes the one framed by America’s Screen Actors Guild (SAG).” For those working in the television industry, one of the biggest challenges is to shoot reality, game and talk shows, as they have an audience.

The guild has said the audience count on such shows should be reduced by 50 per cent and each audience member should be seated at a distance of one metre. Any unknown outsider on the shooting sets is a big risk. In fiction shows, producers have already asked their writers to avoid multi-cast large-group  scenes. There should be no wedding, religious ceremonies or dance sequences,” said Bahl. “There will be some trials and errors when the shoots begin with all these precautionary steps,” he added. It has been over two months since film and television shoots came to a standstill.

“Our biggest concern right now is how soon we can resume production work and how we can approach it responsibly with proper precautions,” said Nitin Vaidya of the Indian Film and TV Producers Council (IFTPC) “We are still figuring out who will bear the onus of medical claim in case someone falls sick during a shoot. In principle, we have agreed to try for bulk insurance.

The guidelines may seem good, but we will know how practical they are only when work resumes and they are implemented,” said Bahl,    Two junior level MBBS and a certified nurse must be present on set for initial 3 months in two different shifts. Anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms must not be permitted on set. Anyone developing symptoms while at work should immediately be isolated in the designated isolation room on set. The on-sets medic team will frequently monitorsuch symptoms and inform the necessary authorities. Well-equipped ambulance/s will be on stand-by all the time., are among the other vital norms.                                                                                            

  ‘Koi lautaa dey mere, beete huye din’, is perhaps, what some film-folks may feel like discreetly humming , until pre-corona status-quo normalcy gets fully restored. 

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