Last year when shoots where halted due to the COVID-19 lockdown, producers, exhibitors and especially daily wage workers who make for 75% of the crew on sets were badly affected. So, now with second wave of coronavirus infections happening, producers and TV channels got together to discuss solutions. But, even before the 15-day-lockdown in Maharashtra was announced, TV show producers had a plan B i.e. to shift base to other states if they want to continue shooting.
As a result, the neighbouring state of Goa has become the hot spot for most of these TV shoots. Hyderabad, Surat, Jaipur are Delhi are other places where shoot locations are being shifted.
Here's is a list of shows that are shifting base or have already moved their crew to other states:
Kundali Bhagya, Kumkum Bhagya, Balaji Productions - Goa
Apna Time Bhi Aayega, Shoonya Square Productions - Goa
Tujhse Hai Raabta and Qurbaan Hua, Full House Media - Goa
Teri Meri Ikk Jindri, LSD Productions- Jaipur
Kyun Rishton Mein Katti Batti- Surat
Hamariwali Good News- Manesar, Haryana
Ghum Hai Kisikey Pyaar Meiin- Goa
Aapki Nazron Ne Samjha- Goa
Shaurya Aur Anokhi Ki Kahani- Goa
Yeh Hai Chahatein- Goa
Mehndi Hai Rachne Waali- Hyderabad
Pandya Store- Bikaner
Saath Nibhaana Saathiya 2- Agra
YRKKH & Anupamaa - Location to be decided
Rudrakaal - We have bank of episodes
Choti Sarrdarrni- Delhi
But the question that follows is - how cost-effective is it for the channels to shift the whole crew to another state? And how are producers ensuring that they keep the cast and crew safe with all the travelling and shifting?
We spoke to producer Ved Raj from Shoonya Square Productions who has shifted base of his show Apna Time Bhi Aayega to Goa. The daily show, which airs on Zee Tv was being shot at Future Studio, in Goregaon, Mumbai till 14 April. Raj told The Quint that the crew has already gone to Goa while the equipment is still en route. They are planning to start shooting from Sunday. “When the COVID numbers touched 1 lakh a week back, discussions started over what has to be done about shoots. Then the weekend lockdown started and we quickly took the decision of moving the shoot to Goa."
"We used to have a crew of 100 people before the lockdown. Now we are working with 50 people. The whole team that’s going to Goa has been tested for COVID before they left. And we have booked a whole resort in Goa where the cast and crew will be staying and shooting. The resort will be exclusively for us and we will make sure that no one steps out." - Ved Raj, Producer of ‘Apna Time Bhi Aayega’
Producer Rajesh Ram, whose show on Colors TV Choti Sarrdaarni is shifting base to Delhi, says that they didn't have to take any specific permission from the state government where they were going to shoot. "We are booking a place and shooting and staying in the same place, basically creating a bio bubble situation. So no permission from the state was required," says the producer. Ram’s Star Plus show Ghum Hai Kisikey Pyaar Meiin is also moving base to Goa.
It will be a substantial additional cost for channels to uproot a full show from one location to another, but this time they couldn't have taken the risk of repeat telecasts.
"“Financially, it’s a huge impact on the channel. As producers we can’t afford to do that. It’s the channel which has taken the impact. For us producers it’s one show but for the channel it’s 10 to 11 shows. Their impact is much bigger than our impact. So they have to look at a larger scale. They don’t want to do a repeat telecast in the 6.30pm to 11pm time slot. Advertisers will also get affected.”" - Rajesh Ram, Producer
Last year's lockdown has been a lesson learnt for channels as well as producers. The cost of each show has reportedly increased approximately by 1-1.5 lakh per episode because of their location shifting out of Mumbai. However, the channels have taken the call to bear that expense because it's better than losing viewership and advertisers.
Meanwhile, producers have made sure they have a backup plan if their artists test COVID positive or refuse to shift base.
"“There have been few artists who had issues travelling to Goa and staying there for a month. So, we had to remove them from the script. Recently our main lead Megha Ray tested COVID positive so we altered the track, we got her kidnapped. If it’s the character artist who tests positive then it’s manageable.”" - Ved Raj, Producer of ‘Apna Time Bhi Aayega’
We spoke to actor Dheeraj Dhoopar, who shifted to Goa with his wife and pet dog. The lead actor from Kundali Bhagya said it's not a comfortable feeling to leave your home and move during such times.
"We got to know just a day before that we need to move to Goa. So packing, locking things, planning how to get my dog here it was hectic. We are all staying in the same place but I am looking for a pet friendly property. I was told we will be here for 25 days and it might get extended." - Dheeraj Dhoopar, Actor
Everyone is now waiting to see if the current lockdown on film and TV shoots will lift after 1 May, 2021, however the show still goes on.
. Read more on TV by The Quint.Goa Is the New Hotspot for TV Show Shoots With Mumbai In LockdownWhen Will the Current COVID-19 Wave Stabilise? Experts Weigh In . Read more on TV by The Quint.