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Film bodies discuss the possibilities of restarting shoots in Maharashtra

On Thursday, May 28, Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, the Secretary, Cultural Affairs, Government of Maharashtra, organised a video conference with prominent bodies of the entertainment industry operational in Maharashtra. Indian Motion Pictures Producers' Association (IMPPA) was represented by T P Agarwal. The Producer Guild of India (PGI) was represented by Apoorva Mehta (Dharma Productions) and Madhu Bhojwani (Emmay Entertainment). Sangram Shirke represented the Western India Film Producers' Association (WIFPA). Marathi Chitrapat Mahamandal (MCM) was represented by its President, Meghraj Bhosale. The Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) was represented by Ashoke Pandit, B N Tiwari and Ashok Dubey.

The meeting was put together to discuss and decide upon the ways and means to work out a standard operating procedure to reboot the entertainment industry with the government's assistance. It was proposed that post production should immediately start in line with all the health, safety and security norms issued by the government. The entertainment body representatives also put forth that the industry requires the government to put out a financial package to help the business get back on its feet.

"We've also asked the state government to direct the insurance companies to design policies keeping the pandemic in mind for the members of the entertainment industry. The meeting lasted an hour and every member from every body made due representations about the people they were there for. The reason we have asked for the post-production work to start is to ensure we do away with the negativity that is growing in the business by the day. We can complete the work on the table that has already been shot. We also have asked for relief in terms of zero rentals for the pandemic period for sets erected on government land, like Film City. And moving forward, we've requested for the rentals to be reduced considerably so producers can start their work and pay the people they hire," says Ashoke Pandit.B N Tiwari adds, "For once, we had a chance to talk and put our concerns forward. We don't want to relocate to any green zones in the state. Whatever it takes, we're willing to do our best to follow the rules but we want to work in and around Mumbai at places that we can monitor and work comfortably in. We were quite satisfied with this meeting because the government looks like they are interested in helping us out. They are receptive to our needs, too."

T P Agarwal sums up, saying, "Shootings will take some time to start. This was just the first round of meetings and discussions. Every craft and even within the producers' fraternity, there are different cadres of producers. So, we have to come up with a standard operating procedure which is workable for everyone and practical in its approach. We will be having more meetings with the government bodies to ensure that things start soon but start well for us."

In the meanwhile, the SOPs already submitted by the industry members are being reviewed by Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, who has assured that there have been serious discussions pertaining to the resumption of work in the media and entertainment industry.

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