‘Mind block ayyindi’ …this is what every other producer is uttering in Tollywood in a stressful tone. The uncertainty over movie business due to coronavirus has left all the producers – small and big, in a big mess. Films that were completed and about to release have been stuck at labs, films that need a couple of weeks to wrap them are also facing the same precarious situation.
Governments are planning to lift the lockdown in phases. Some businesses will be allowed for their operations. But Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for IT, already hinted that IT professionals need to work from home until July end. Given this situation, shootings will not be allowed until August for sure. The entertainment business will be the least priority for the government.
Another worry is that even if theaters are allowed to run, doubts linger on whether audiences would feel comfortable stepping into cinema theaters? Theater owners have suggested that only 50 percent of seats should be sold until people get confidence. However, the majority of producers fear that women and family audiences may not step into cinema halls for another six months. If that is that case, it would be disastrous to release medium-budgeted and big-budgeted films.
If shootings don’t resume in the next two months, the lives of cine workers, assistant directors, assistant cameramen, and small technicians would become miserable.
On the other hand, several production houses have launched or planned Pan-India films by paying hefty remunerations to the stars. All these projects may not work out in the current scenario. Either budget should be slashed or put them aside for the time being.
The future seems bleak for the movie industry. This is why all the leading producers say ‘mind block ayyindi’.