Shoots cancelled, projects shelved: Production houses count COVID-19 losses

Producers say the lockdown’s impact will be felt as a whole and a number of shows have been put on hold for now

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Mar 27, 2020 8:34 AM

Production houses are likely to suffer heavy losses that may run into crores because of the coronavirus lockdown, say industry sources while maintaining that a definite number can’t be quoted since the enormity of the crisis can’t be judged as yet.

Shooting of films, webseries and TV shows – all of it has come to a standstill. It also remains to be seen how prolonged will the crisis be and when can one expect a full recovery.

TV viewership is set to go up but this is no solace for production houses as all upcoming and existing shows have been put on the back burner.

“These are very testing times,” says Siddharth P Malhotra, Producer of the Star Plus show ‘Sanjivani’. “We have now postponed the shooting for a Zee Entertainment show. The impact will be felt as a whole. I can’t shoot my show till September or October and a lot of people have found their works stuck because of the COVID-19 crisis.” Malhotra informed that five of his shows and one film have been put on hold.

Binaifer Kohli of Edit II Productions, who is the Producer of the popular show ‘Bhabhiji Ghar Pe Hai’ on &TV and Sab TV’s ‘Jijai Chhat Par Hai’ shared: “There is no cost to life. It is going to affect all of us — broadcasters, production houses or daily wage earners.”

Although, all work related to shootings have been cancelled, the production houses have continued to pay wages to their crew - from technicians to the spot guys, Kohli said.

Another Producer, on the condition of anonymity, said: “Be it a fiction or a non-fiction show, a huge amount of money goes into the production or making. It is difficult to put together how much production houses will be losing as it depends on the show and how big the production company is. But, the loss will be huge and could be upto Rs 100 crore.”

Emphasising that the crisis has hit shows in regional languages too, another producer, who too didn’t want to be named, said: “We have to cancel the shoot of some big shows not just in Hindi but in regional languages too.”

Looking at the faint bright side of the situation, Malhotra said: “The shoots are not happening but we are utilising this time to write and create new shows. It's a huge crisis and the only way to deal with it is to stay in quarantine.”

Among the shows that have been postponed are Rajan Shahi’s Anupama for Star Plus and Yash Patnaik’s Ishq Me Marjawan for Colors.

“There has been an impact on the industry and there is nothing that we can do. I think there are more surprises and only time can tell,” said an industry insider, summing up the state of the production houses in these tricky times.

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