Lockdown and shutdown


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“An invisible virus has wrecked ego, pomp, hypocritical, blood-soaked politics, superstition about geographical borders in one go. Countries, which hoarded war weapons, that could destroy the human race at one go; made to kneel down before this virus.”

This is how filmmaker and theatre activist Jayatheertha describes the affect of COVID-19 which introduced each rich and poor, no matter caste, creed, and tradition to their knees throughout the globe. The pandemic has thrown a spanner in society’s functioning and the movie business — Kannada cinema isn’t any exception. It is dealing with the wrath of Corona virus like by no means earlier than.

Will this be the brand new regular?

For the primary time Kannada cinema business has remained closed for greater than 120 days and all actions together with screening and taking pictures got here to a screeching halt.

“Kannada cinema has not faced crisis of this kind in the past 86 years, except during Veerappan’s abduction of Dr Rajkumar. Suspension of screening and shooting for 108 days then was a voluntary decision at that time. The film industry recovered after his return from the forest. Now, it is state-directed – Lights, Camera, Lockdown, Shutdown and there is no sign of commencing cine activities, as more and more cases are emerging by the day. Karnataka government announced another week of lockdown from July 15. There are signs of extending the lockdown period if the situation fails to improve,” says veteran actor and President Karnataka Chalanachitra Karmikara Kalavidara Tantrajnara Okkuta Ashok.

Old-time exhibitors in Karnataka admit that movies had been screened sometimes even throughout the Second World War and within the midst of plague. Okay.V. Chandrashekar, proprietor Veeresh Cinemas and President Karnataka Exhibitors’ Association recollects his grandfather’s phrases; “When Dr. Rajkumar was abducted, my grandfather used to tell us about the screening of one or two films when plague struck Bangalore in 1921”.

The ongoing COVID-19 disaster has led to giant scale anxieties about the way forward for the humanities. Many livelihoods depend on the performing and visible arts. It is simply not the fraternity of artists’ however their help workers, co-workers, and a complete ecosystem that’s sustained by way of their follow. Karnataka is likely one of the largest movie making states within the nation and provides jobs to a number of hundreds.

Approximately 500 artistes, technicians, apart from tons of of each day wage staff who’re concerned in numerous divisions of movie manufacturing, rendered jobless due to pandemic results on the leisure business. Okkuta has drawn up a brief plan to help the each day wage staff, artistes and technicians. Meanwhile, filmmaker Pawan Kumar and actor Dhananjaya are gathering funds to assist the movie staff in misery. Similarly, many main personalities have come ahead to assist the employees and artists in misery.

As many as 240 multiplex screens and 615 single screens have displayed “NO SHOWS” discover of their premises. Because of lockdown and screens going clean, -Kempe Gowda Road in Bengaluru, which is the nerve heart of Kannada cinema in Karnataka, seems abandoned.

The pandemic has dealt a extreme blow to homeowners of single-screen cinema halls in Karnataka. The majority of householders are both pondering of shutting store or venturing into different companies. According to business sources, at the very least 150 of the 615 single-screen theatres are watching closure. Some homeowners confess that they don’t seem to be optimistic concerning the revival of theatre even after the state of affairs improves, as they really feel the pandemic has modified the idea of watching motion pictures with social distancing changing into the brand new norm.

Nevertheless, some filmmakers nonetheless consider that the expertise of watching movies on a giant display is totally different. “Audience will not sacrifice that kind of experience. Getting the feel of screens will not be there in the OTT platform watching. It is certain that the audience will return to the theatre once doors are opened,” says filmmaker Nanda Kishore. Despite releasing two movies produced underneath his banner PRK Productions, Puneet Rajkumar acknowledges opinion of Nanda Kishore and says: “I am optimistic about people standing in queues in front of theatres.”

The exhibition sector is chalking out a technique to attract viewers to screens, as soon as the federal government clears the block. There are talks of even slashing the entry payment each in single screens and multiplexes. Multiplexes that weren’t budging to deliver down the entry payment, regardless of the course of the federal government, have now come round and agreed to chop the ticket charges. “We have submitted a memorandum to the concerned authorities on slashing the ticket rates,” says Raghavendra, Manager of a multiplex facility.

Though the federal government permitted taking pictures with riders, no producer is daring to change on the lights in studios and no director is coming ahead to name the photographs. “There is no point in commencing the shooting till exhibitors are allowed to screen movies. Spending money for production in the time of uncertainty tantamount to gambling”, says Jayaram, producer of Buddhivanta-2 starring Upendra. Many stars have refused to shoot and full their movies, as they’re anxious concerning the security and safety of their households. “Concerned about children at home, I don’t want to take the risk,” says Priyanka Upendra, who’s taking pictures for her movie, Ugravatara.

Meanwhile, the involvement of technicians from different languages, particularly from Mumbai, Chennai, and Andhra Pradesh in manufacturing posed extra issues. Producers refuse to interact or contain them in manufacturing now, as they don’t need to invite undesirable danger. “Unlike manufacturing, shooting is not a controlled and organised sector. To try and mount protocols on what is fundamentally a creative process will post challenges,” says producer, Rockline Venkatesh.

Of course, the leisure business is appreciative of each step being taken by the federal government in its bid to halt the unfold of coronavirus of neighborhood transmission and promised to cooperate. The estimated loss incurred by each the movie business and the assertion authorities is pegged at an approximate Rs.1000-crore by the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC). “It takes years for the entertainment industry, especially Kannada cinema to recover from the loss incurred from the past 120 plus days,” says Okay.V. Chandrashekar, who can be former president of KFCC. The pandemic has pushed Kannada cinema at the very least 20 years behind, he provides.

The manufacturing sector claims that it’s producers, who’re worst affected when in comparison with different gamers within the business. “With stalling of screening and productions- producers are not in a position to repay the interest, leave alone the principal amount. Our situation is no different from the farmers in Karnataka, who are resorting to the extreme step of ending their lives because of their inability to repay debts,” says Praveen Kumar, President Kannada Film Producers’ Association.

Though big-budget movies have taken up insurance coverage cowl for his or her movies, it doesn’t cowl the loss because of the pandemic. “The practice is taking insurance to meet the risk while shooting the film. The risk involved in the release has not been included in this package. Padmaavat of Sanjay Leela Bhansali was the only film which insured for the risk involved in the release. But none of the Kannada producers have taken insurance covering the risk of the release so far. It is time to understand the importance of insuring the film from the state of production to release period,” says, Jairaj, President KFCC.

So what does life forward appear like for the business, when the state of affairs turns regular? How will cinema be consumed sooner or later? Movies releasing on streaming platforms has prompted exhibitors and theatre homeowners a lot heartburn.

Some producers are choosing OTT as there isn’t a signal of resumption of screening. With COVID-19 curbing the variety of viewers going to the theatres, OTT -platforms are consuming into the main share of the viewers. Actor Puneet Rajkumar has launched Law produced underneath his PRK Banner starring Ragini Prajwal on the OTT platform. Similar is his plan to launch French Biriyani directed by Pannaga Bharana.

It is completely clear. The writing is on the wall for the display homeowners — the arrival of expertise and COVID-19 scare will alter the panorama of the leisure business completely and brick and mortar theatre will turn out to be out of date, predicts S.V Rajendra Singh Babu, producer and director, former chairperson of Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy.

Actor turned politician Taara Anuradha has studied the issues being confronted by the Kannada cinema due to the pandemic and submitted a report back to the Government. “Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa has promised to come to the rescue of Kannada cinema,” she says. “Film industry has to come together and join hands to seek a package from the government that would help in rejuvenation of all the sectors,” says Thomas D’Souza, govt member of South Indian Film Chamber. His observations sounds a bit rational and sensible.


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