Hyderabad: Among the various sectors affected due to the pandemic, the film industry is one of the hardest hit. While the giants in the industry have their fair share of issues, the budding, independent filmmakers seem to be among the worst affected, as the second wave put a halt on all of their productions.
“We had completed about half of the shoot of my debut feature film, we had all the locations prepped and painted, we had the cast and crew booked but it all went upside down when the second wave hit. We ended up postponing the shoot,” says Sthreelanka Chandu Saayi, an independent filmmaker, who is currently directing the OTT feature film ‘Charitha Kamakshi’.
Abhishek Maharshi, another independent filmmaker from the city, has a similar story but his story goes back to 2019. “My feature film ‘Prem Kumar’ was supposed to start in 2019 but the consistent pandemic and the lockdowns resulted in us postponing the project,” shares Abhishek.
“Some of my crew members too tested positive for Covid and it caused a lot of uncertainty. Additionally, finding crew and technicians became difficult post lockdown as all the delayed projects resulted in these members being out of work for a long time and they increased their remuneration due to their own financial crises,” shares Chandu.
The delay in productions also increased a demand for the crew and equipment, as Abhishek explains, “Post-lockdown, many delayed projects resumed at once and this brought in a dearth of technical crew and also actors. We had to make a lot of adjustments to the schedules and budgets.”
The timelines and the budgets also increased due to the gap caused by the lockdown. “We had painted the locations and during the lockdown period, it all deteriorated and we had to redo the locations with urgency. This also ended up increasing the budget,” says Chandu.
Adding to this is the fear of a potential third wave and that is pushing these filmmakers to work harder and faster. “We completed about 70% of the shoot and we want to finish the remaining shoot as soon as possible just in case there is a third wave. But, as this is my debut film, I am really hoping we can do a theatrical release as that is what every filmmaker dreams of,” shares Abhishek.
Chandu is also planning on finishing the shoot in half the original timeline. Apart from this, the teams are taking every possible measure to stay safe, as Abhishek points out, “We ensured a majority of the crew are vaccinated at least once and are thoroughly sanitising the locations before shoots, apart from ensuring minimal contact and reducing paper on sets.”
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