There's industry beyond Amitabh Bachchan, Karan Johar: Ashoke Pandit on artistes resuming work
- Ashoke Pandit, President of the Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association, says that staying away from work is not an option for daily earners
- After Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek tested COVID-19 positive, critics questioned the timings of the entertainment industry returning to work
- Pandit says that there has been no help from the centre or state government for the entertainment industry in these tough times.
“If they won't work, they will die of hunger,” Ashoke Pandit, President of the Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association, said when asked if the entertainment industry was rushing back to work too soon after the COVID-19 pandemic. The debate was triggered after Bollywood actors Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan along with TV actor Parth Samthaan’s tested positive for the coronavirus.
Parth was shooting for Ekta Kapoor’s TV show "Kasautii Zindagi Kay” when he was detected with COVID-19 while it has been reported that Abhishek contracted the virus while shooting for season 2 of “Breathe” and this eventually led to others getting infected in his house, including his wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and daughter Aaradhya.
However, Pandit refuted the rumours and said, “The shooting of 'Breathe' was over long back. The post production of the film was taking place and Abhishek was just doing the dubbing and that too indoors. Dubbing doesn’t require more than two persons and it was very close to his house.”
He feels that halting the shoot of TV shows again is not a solution. “Film industry is yet to start the shoot as so far, it's just the TV shows shoots that are taking place. Also, this issue is related to all the industries. Yes, we attract more attention because the basic nature of industry is such. If you see, just five-six people have been infected in our industry but unfortunately because of Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek, it has became a big thing. We have 100 of police officers , doctors , BMC officers who were also infected but that doesn’t mean that you stop working,” he told Opoyi.
“In last four months, many people have died of hunger. Yes, I think precautions must be taken, which our industry is brilliantly doing for instance members of TV shows like ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’ are perfectly managing the entire shoot. It is also important to understand that the creative producers and people who are in charge of the sets have to take things very seriously,” he said.
“You cannot shut the industry because the situation is bad. People are getting frustrated and that can eventually lead to increased cases of suicide and murder so how long will you survive,” said Pandit.
He also blamed the government for not helping the entertainment industry.
“Suppose if I am sitting at home and not supported by the government then who will take care of my bread and butter. Government is not taking care of you so ultimately when it comes to survival then you feel that let’s die while working rather than dying of hunger. Whosoever is funding our industry right now is also losing their holding capacity so once that is over, who will take care of us? There is no support structure for the film or entertainment industry from any government- neither centre nor state. Nobody is helping us and we are surviving on our own,” he said.
Pandit, who was also a co-producer of the 2019 film. “The Accidental Prime Minister” made on the life of former Prime minister Manmohan Singh and the very recent hit web-series “The Charge Sheet” on ZEE5, says that unfortunately, people restrict the entertainment industry to just Amitabh Bachchan and filmmaker Karan Johar.
“The industry also comprises 32-34 crafts. What about theatres, musicians, plays , other art forms like painting exhibition? It’s not just related to Amitabh Bachchan or Karan Johar. I think the A-listers can still manage without working for an year but they are not the only one in the industry,” he said.