In March 2020 when the government of India announced a nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the entertainment industry too was shut down for over three months. A lot of shows were pulled down during that time and those that were on-air couldn’t begin shooting before late June. Now with the second wave of COVID hitting the country hard, the Maharashtra government was forced to impose a night curfew, weekend lockdown along with various other measures in the state.
With the cases rising, the leads testing positive and the restrictions imposed, creating episodes bank has become a challenge for TV producers. Amir Jaffar, who along with his wife Sonali Jaffar is producing three shows – Aapki Nazron Ne Samjha, Qurbaan Hua and Tujhse Hai Raabta – under their banner Full House Media Private Limited, said, “Banking is a challenge because we will need to shoot the same number of episodes in five days and reduced hours. Once we get into it we’ll have a better idea, as of now we are just scratching our heads.”
Edit II’s Binaifer Kohli, who along with her husband Sanjay Kohli is producing shows ‘Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain!’, ‘Happu Ki Ultan Paltan’ and ‘Jijaji Chhat Parr Koii Hai’, feels TV shooting can continue with social distancing on the sets. She further said, “Distancing is possible if you plan your shooting well, you take it in cuts. It can be done. The way forward is to write a story in a manner where there are lesser people in the scenes. There is a distance maintained.”
Talking about episodes bank, she said, “Episodes bank are being made because right now there is a Saturday and Sunday curfew, so two days are cut from a week of shooting. It is effectively about 9-10 days that are cut from a month for shooting and then once someone falls ill you have to shut everything for three days, episode banks have become very essential.”
Binaiferr added, “But as I say the show is a part of our life, it is not our life and everybody has to look after their lives and for me the safety and security of every single person coming on set is the most important thing.”