BH CORRESPONDENT, Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has tightened her grip to tackle the coronavirus scare in her state. After shutting down schools, colleges and universities till March 31, she has extended it till April 15 because it is said the virus is at its worst in stage 3. It grows exponentially through social contact and gathering. Keeping this factor in mind, Mamata has also announced to shut down cinema halls in the state till March 31.
Though there has no report of any positive cases in West Bengal till now, the CM has take a number of stringent steps to combat COVID-19. She has also asked to stop shooting of all reality TV shows, which result in large gathering. The chief minister will again take stock of the situation on March 30.
“This is an unnatural and special situation. If the theatres, stadiums and, auditoriums are closed for some days, then there is no harm,” said Mamata.
On Sunday, Federation of Western Indian Cine Employees (FWICE), Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA), Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association (IMPPA), Western India Film Producers’ Association (WIFPA) and Indian Film and TV Producers Council (IFTPC) decided to stop shooting of films, TV serials and web series till March 31 to control the spread of COVID-19.
Eastern India Motion Pictures Association (EIMPA) was supposed to hold an emergency meeting with Federation of Cine Technicians and Workers of Eastern India (FCTWEI), West Bengal Motion Picture Artists’ Forum and other bodies on Monday, but it will now be held on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, shooting of Bengali TV serials went uninterrupted on Monday in Tollywood. However, now that CM has announced that cinema halls will remain closed till March 31, Piya Sengupta, president EIMPA, said, “Given the situation we are in now, we will have to think on humanitarian ground. Of course, the closing down of halls especially single screen theatres will result in a huge loss, but can we really do anything in this case? The Bengali film industry is going through its toughest phase and we need to fight this together.”
Director Indrasish Acharya had just released his new Bengali film Parcel. It stars Saswata Chatterjee and Rituparna Sengupta. Of course, this news has come as a shocker to him.
“On the day of the premiere (March 13), the news that theatres being shut down in Delhi and Mumbai started coming. We cannot spend too much money on promotion of a film on the kind of movies I make. I just hope when we come back after the break, we will get some space in the theatres,” said Indrasish Acharya.
Interestingly, the state government is not shutting down restaurants, malls and gyms. Arijit Dutta, owner of Priya Cinema said, “Cinema halls are being closed down. But what about malls?,”
The CM, however, advised the mall authorities to use sanitizers. She also said that markets and malls are not being closed because people shop a lot of essential commodities from here.
Meanwhile, debutant director Srimanta Sengupta was supposed to start shooting for his new Bengali film Abar Bochhor Koori Pore with Abir Chatterjee, Arpita Chatterjee and Tanusree Chakraborty in Kalimpong from March 17 onwards. But the production house cancelled the shooting due to COVID-19 fallout. In a statement, the producers Animesh Ganguly and Soumya Sarkar said they have cancelled the shooting keeping in mind the safety and health of the cast and crew.
Interdisciplinary artiste Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee who is making his debut as a director with Home starring Rituparna Sengupta, Sohag Sen, Bidita Chakraborty among others, also decided to halt shooting due to COVID-19. “Our shoot for #Home has been postponed as a precaution for #Corona. I am obviously sad and worried but more so with the pandemic and also about the realignment of everything. I wonder how things go awry every time I try and be proactive. Yes I should just chill,” he posted on Facebook.
Meanwhile, Shiboprosad Mukhopadhyay’s recently-released production Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti is performing exceeding well at the box office and is already a hit. When asked the producer if the movie theatres shut down, will it hamper the business, Shiboprosad said, “Nothing can be done in this situation if this really happens. We will pick up from where we will leave behind.”
Lead actress Ritabhari Chakraborty has thanked the audience for liking the film. Ever since it released, it has been receiving good reviews and massive footfalls.
“All theatres closed from tomorrow, barring a few following the mandate from today… Thank you for showering so much love on #BJGK, we’ll be back. Public health and safety come first,” wrote Ritabhari Chakraborty on social media.
And no, his much-awaited Bela Shuru has a release date in June. So, he isn’t worried. Dev, who is producing two films – Tonic and Hobu Chandra Raja Gobu Chandra Mantri – in May told us that it is too early to think about postponing release.
An Inox official said that they respect and follow the government’s advisory to keep the cinemas closed as a preventive measure. Health and well-being of the patrons have always being their priority and they will be back soon.
Raj Chakraborty’s Dharmajuddha was supposed to hit theatres on April 3. However, the director has announced to postpone the release of the film due to COVID-19.
There are quite a few Bengali releases like Rawto Rahashyo, Dracula Sir, Guldasta and Hridpindo in April. Let’s wait and watch if their release postpone or not due to coronavirus.