Here's How TV Producers Are Tackling Rising COVID Cases on Sets

Here's what film and Tv bodies and producers are doing to ensure safety on sets.

3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>From the sets of 'Wagle Ki Duniya' a daily tv show.</p></div>

In the past few weeks, Maharashtra has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases. A number of crew members associated with reality shows and even TV actors have contracted the virus recently.

The latest such incident took place on the sets of dance reality show Dance Deewane season 3, when 18 crew members tested positive. However, the shoot went on as scheduled, with a new team.

The cast and crew of shows such as Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma and Ghum Hai Kisi Ke Pyar Mein had also tested COVID-19 positive some time back. Even actor Rupali Ganguly, who plays the protagonist in Anupama, has contracted the virus.

In most cases, the cast and crew get back to shooting after their 14-day quarantine period.

Amid the rising cases, what precautions are producers taking to ensure the safety of their teams?

The Quint spoke to BN Tiwari, chief of Federation of Western India Cine Employees, elaborated on what happens when there are COVID positive cases on the sets.

"When someone tests positive while shooting, they are immediately quarantined. Every show is equipped with extra people, who are brought on board as replacements. So, when the 18 crew members from Dance Deewane 3 tested positive, they were replaced by a new team and the shoot continued. They shoot only on Saturdays, so all members get tested for COVID before the episodes are filmed. Therefore we didn't find it important to cancel their shoots".
BN Tiwari, Chief of FWICE
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Sanitisation being done on set.&nbsp;</p></div>

Sanitisation being done on set. 

(Photo Courtesy: JD Majethia)


But what happens when a crew member from a daily soap tests positive? If it's an actor the shoot is immediately cancelled. But if a crew member tests COVID positive he or she is asked to isolate, and a substitute steps in if necessary. All those people working in close proximity with that person has to take a COVID test.

Recently, choreographer-turned-filmmaker Bosco Martis had to cancel the shoot of his film Rocket Gang after 20 of his crew members tested positive for coronavirus. Then there are film shoots that need a big crew. For instance, Ganesh Acharya is shooting a song sequence for a Dharma production with 500 people and he is filming that in Hyderabad.


BN Tiwari adds that the producers have been taking necessary precautions, so we spoke to TV producer and president of Indian Film and TV Producers' Council JD Majethia.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>From the sets of a daily tv show.</p></div>

From the sets of a daily tv show.

(Photo Courtesy: JD Majethia)

"Apart from following the guidelines issued by the Maharashtra government in May 2020, we are also trying to restrict the working hours. As of now, we are trying our best to shoot from 7am to 9pm only. Barring crime shows, which need to be shot in the dark, others are following the timings. We have encouraged the elder actors to take the vaccine. Last year, this option was not there. From 1st April we are also trying to get actors, workers and technicians above the age of 45 vaccinated".
JD Majethia, Producer/ President IFTPC

The spike in COVID cases is definitely a concern for the entertainment industry, but producers are trying their best to take all precautions.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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