Coronavirus Outbreak: Mamata Banerjee allows reality TV shows to resume shooting, but with no live audience

Mamata Banerjee urged directors and producers to spread awareness about coronavirus through films and TV shows.

Press Trust of India July 07, 2020 12:07:22 IST
Coronavirus Outbreak: Mamata Banerjee allows reality TV shows to resume shooting, but with no live audience

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday granted permission for recommencement of reality TV shoots but disallowed the presence of audience on sets.

The chief minister also said that outdoor shooting might be allowed at isolated places with not more than 40 crew members, after intimating local police officers.

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Banerjee further announced that all members of the West Bengal Motion Pictures Artists Forum would be provided treatment free of cost if they contract the disease.

Pointing out that Bengal is the "first and only" place in the country where shooting for TV serials has resumed in full swing since 11 June, Banerjee said the state should be promoted as "one-stop destination" for filming soaps and movies, as it has the necessary infrastructure in place.

She urged directors and producers to generate awareness on COVID-19 through their films and serials.

"You can start work for reality shows as many budding talents are benefited from these programmes. But there shouldn't be any audience. You can recreate the audience feel with camera trick and technology," she said while interacting with representatives of the entertainment industry - artistes, technicians, producers, actors - at the state secretariat Nabanna.

As several actors, including Parambrata Chatterjee, insisted that outdoor shoots were vital for almost all film projects, Banerjee said, "If you become a little innovative, and shoot with restricted crew (40) at an isolated place where there is no crowd, it could be permitted."

The Chief Minister, however, stated that senior police officers in that particular area will have to be informed about the shoot.

"You can commence outdoor shoots near lakes and parks when they open for a few hours in the morning. You can also shoot at the eco-tourism park (in the city) after talking to authorities there," she suggested.

To another request, Banerjee gave her nod for increasing the number of actors who could shoot together on the floor of sets from six to 10.

The chief minister said a grooming centre for serial and film actors will come up soon at a suitable place on the city outskirts, with support from her government.

Asked about the likelihood of reopening single-screen theatres, she said "that would take time".

"As of now, reopening cinema halls or granting a waiver on their electricity bill is not possible. We can provide some assistance to cinema hall owners who have been affected by cyclone Amphan," Banerjee said.

Talking about state-sponsored award ceremonies, she said a decision on hosting this year's Kolkata International Film Festival would be taken later in the year.

Director Raj Chakraborty, actor and artists' forum working president Shankar Chakraborty, TV serial producer-director Leena Gangopadhyay, ministers Arup Biswas and Indranil Sen were among others who were present at the meeting.

(With inputs from Press Trust of India)

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