Reports that 3 crew members involved in the shooting of a TV serial have tested positive for COVID-19 have sent shockwaves through the Telugu film and television industry.
Two production boys and one light man tested positive in the past one week, but the issue came to light only last Tuesday, when a voice message by a small screen actor, who said he too also tested positive, went viral.
TV actors, producers and others are meeting to further strengthen safety measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents.
“It is true that actors are a bit apprehensive about shooting after learning that our colleague tested positive. We are following all protocols laid down by the authorities like disinfectant tunnels, PPE kits and reducing personal staff,” says TV actor Lohit Kumar, vice-president of the Artistes Association of Telugu Television (AATT).
“In fact, when we have to touch a heroine, both of us use sanitisers before and after,” he adds. “We started shootings a week ago but we intend to strengthen our safety measures further,” Lohit Kumar stresses.
However, when asked to comment on the three crew members testing positive last week, his only response is “I don’t know about it.”
Nonetheless, the impact of this news is bound to impact the film industry as well.
“I read about COVID-19-positive cases in TV shootings and it is unfortunate. It is true that big budget filmmakers are observing the shooting schedules of a few movies and TV serials to study the safety precautions and then introduce more fool-proof measures,” says leading producer Sravanthi Ravi Kishore, a prominent member of the Active Telugu Film Producers Guild.
He also rules out differences between filmmakers over commencement of shootings.
“There are no differences and all big producers are united. Actually, filmmakers of star-studded movies are not in a hurry to start shooting. Of course, permissions have been given, but we are worried about maintaining the most difficult guideline — social distancing — on the sets.
Also, we can’t force stars to come to the sets in this dicey situation, so it will take more time for big stars to don grease paint once again,” he adds.
Director Teja says “Pampering” of big stars and their personal staff will make things difficult for filmmakers. “It is bound to hamper safety measures on the sets,” he points out.
“In fact, personal staff of each big star often behave as if they’re much bigger than the star himself,” he alleges.”
According to Teja, “Probably, the film industry held back information about people testing positive at TV shootings because it could lead to cancellation of permissions. I am not against shootings per se, but I want filmmakers to strictly follow guidelines,” he stresses.
With stars are reluctant to join the sets, producer Lagadapati Sridhar, who is making an entertainer with his son Vikram, is also holding his horses.
“Though Vikram is raring to resume shooting, I don’t want to take any chances since most of my team members are young and aspiring. I don’t mind losing some money, but their safety comes first, though just 20 days of work is remaining,” he concludes....