Last year, senior actors were forced to stop shooting amid the pandemic by the Maharashtra government. The government had issued guidelines before giving the shootings of television shows a green signal. As per the guidelines, no cast or crew member above the age of 65 years was allowed on shooting sets. However, the regulations were challenged in the Bombay High Court and were later removed.
Now again, the shootings in the state are halted due to continuous rise in coronavirus cases. But this year, no restriction has been imposed based on the age of the actors. However, senior actors themselves are apprehensive about going to the sets, which are currently happening outside the state.
Television’s number one show Anupamaa’s actor Arvind Vaidya, who plays Hasmukh Shah in the show, said, “Many people from the team tested positive a few weeks ago. Since I had tested negative, I continued shooting for a while. I realised that it was important to look after my health and not expose myself to the virus. So, I informed the production and they agreed. Later, the government also imposed restrictions and the shoot relocated to Silvassa. I am a senior actor, who has directed over 300 plays, but if I want to continue living a healthy life, it is important that I don’t travel or shoot in the current situation. I have to follow safety protocols."
Actors Rupali Ganguly, Sudhanshu Pandey, Aashish Mehrotra, Alpana Buch and Nidhi Shah from Anupamaa had contracted the infection and recovered.
Actress Himani Shivpuri, who is seen in Happu Ki Ultan Paltan, also said," It is scary to step out and relocate to a different city right now. Last year, I got COVID-19 because I continued shooting and did not want to hamper work, but this year, I will have to wait and see how things go.”
However, not all senior actors are in dilemma about going on the sets amid the pandemic. In fact, some are eagerly waiting to start shooting their part.
Popular comedy show Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah’s actor Ghanshyam Nayak, who essays the character of Natu Kaka, said, “It has been over a month since I am at home. There is no clarity as to when my track will start as the shooting has halted for now. The makers haven’t taken any decision to shift base, too. I had shot for an episode in March and after that I am at home. I am sure the makers will start my track soon and show how Natu Kaka returns to Mumbai from the village.” Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chasmah unit has not moved to a new location as they have bank of episodes until early May.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced a statewide curfew for 15 days from 8 pm on April 14 to contain the rapid spread of the coronavirus in its second wave. With Section 144 being imposed across the state, Thackeray said essential services have been exempted from the restrictions. The curfew will be in place till 7 am on May 1.