As the threat of a Maharashtra lockdown looms with a spike in COVID-19 cases in the Indian state, Bollywood representatives are appealing to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to save the industry, “which is already in shambles”.
The Indian Film and TV Directors Association has posted a letter on social media on behalf of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees, appealing to Thackeray to not take such a drastic step at a time when Bollywood is only just finding its feet.
Chief Advisor of FWIC Ashoke Pandit shared a copy of the letter, while writing: “@fwicemum urges and requests Hon’ble CM Ji not to impose complete lockdown as it will create a lot of fear, panic in the industry which is already in shambles. We ensure the Govt. of Maharashtra of taking full precautions as per its SOPs & guidelines.”
The letter details what a year of lockdown has done to the entertainment industry in Mumbai, which employs thousands of workers on a daily basis.
“…On behalf of scores of actors, workers, technicians of the entire media and entertainment industry, we hereby urge the government not to impose any more lockdown as it has already harmed the economy of the entertainment industry earlier and people are trying to recover from the losses incurred due to the earlier lockdown,” the letter reads.
The letter continues: “One whole year had passed with no work and no income, distressed lives and no food, hunger-stricken families and deprived children. It was a very dreadful and sorry state of people who were left alone to fight their own battles of hunger and poverty with absolutely no aid from any Government body (Neither State nor Central).
“The community of producers and top actors, actresses who then came together to the rescue of the daily wage earners of the media and entertainment industry and contributed at large to provide daily bread to these sole earners of families. Now the situation may even go worse as these communities of producers, actors and actresses who helped our brethren are themselves not in a position to provide any further aid to these daily wage workers and technicians.”
On Friday, Thackeray warned a new lockdown could come in two days following consultations with experts and political leaders. Maharashtra yesterday reported 47,827 new COVID-19 cases, the highest since the pandemic began last year. With 202 patients dying on Friday, the state’s case fatality ratio has reached 1.91 per cent.
Bollywood not immune
Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt is the latest celebrity to be infected by the coronavirus. While the actress remains in isolation at home, she joins a long list of celebrities who have turned up positive in recent weeks ever since the industry has reopened for business.
Bhatt’s actor-boyfriend Ranbir Kapoor had tested positive for the coronavirus last month, along with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the director of her film ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’.
Other actors who recently tested positive include, Fatima Sana Sheikh, Paresh Rawal, Kartik Aaryan, Manoj Bajpayee, R Madhavan, Kriti Sanon and Rohit Saraf.
Earlier, actors Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Arjun Kapoor, Malaika Arora, Genelia D’Souza, Sunny Deol and others were infected with the virus.