Akshay Kumar in Ram Setu
Akshay Kumar in Ram Setu Image Credit: Twitter.com/akshaykumar

The Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) has formed a “monitoring team” to ensure that all COVID-19 shooting guidelines - including safety precautions on set, avoiding filming of crowd sequences - are strictly followed amid the surge in coronavirus cases in Maharashtra.

The film and TV industries have been badly hit due to the rising COVID-19 cases in the state and particularly the capital city of Mumbai.

Several on-ground productions like ‘Ram Setu’, ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ and Dharma Productions-backed ‘Mr Lele’ halted shoots after their leading actors, including Akshay Kumar, Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal and Bhumi Pednekar tested positive for coronavirus.

Gangubai Kathiawadi
Gangubai Kathiawadi Image Credit: IMDB

Apart from the actors, as many as 45 members of Kumar’s ‘Ram Setu’ have reportedly also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, even as the makers deny this.

According to a statement from the FWICE, the office-bearers had a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and assured him that the industry will be “responsible” in following the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure).

“FWICE in coordination with experts has laid down guidelines which all people involved in pre-production, shooting and post-production work will have to adhere to. These guidelines as of now will be applicable till April 30,” the statement read.

According to the new guidelines, shooting of crowd sequences and songs with dancers in large numbers will not be allowed.

Vicky Kaushal and Bhumi bhumipednekar
Image Credit: Insta/bhumipednekar and Insta/ vickykaushal09

“Wearing of masks and continuous sanitization are compulsory on the sets, in production offices, and in post-production studios.

“An FWICE monitoring team has been constituted to visit sets and post-production studios regularly to check that all guidelines are being followed. Any individual or production unit flouting the rules or creating any kind of hindrance in the adherence of the guidelines will face disciplinary action,” the statement read.

The Maharashtra government on Sunday announced a weekend lockdown in the state from 8pm on Friday to 7am on Monday in a bid to curb the growing numbers of COVID-19 cases.

“Shooting, setting, pre-production activities should be avoided during this period (of weekend lockdown). It is permissible to shoot from Monday to Friday. All members are hereby advised to schedule their shootings as per the above permissible days,” the statement added.

The statement was signed by B N Tiwari, FWICE President, Ashok Dubey, General Secretary, Gangeshwar Srivastav, Treasurer and chief advisors Sharad Shelar and filmmaker Ashok Pandit.

Maharashtra reported close to 58,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday.