Even as Lockdown 3.0 has been implemented, it is clear that the Government is keen to get the economy back on track. Pooja Entertainment is the first production house to commit to a completely sanitized film set to ensure the safety and health of its cast and crew whenever film shoot is allowed by the Government after the lockdown is completely over.
Veteran producer Vashu Bhagnani believes that the new normal is here to stay and the sooner the fraternity readies itself for change, the better. “The film industry has come to a halt, whether in India or outside. Yes, parts of the world are showing signs of recovery from the virus and while India has done remarkably well to flatten the curve and keep fatalities low, we must now get ready to be back on the set. As and when the lockdown is lifted, we want to be in a position to resume work immediately. But this resumption will be as per health guidelines stipulated by the Govt. We don't want to take any chances.”
Some of the ground rules Pooja Entertainment is mulling include using larger tents with portable ACs for shooting, limiting people on the sets, sanitizing all common areas, making masks and gloves compulsory for all staff, continuously disinfecting equipment, medical assistance on the sets at all times among other things.
Jackky Bhagnani says that it is imperative that stringent measures are put in place. “If there is one thing the lockdown has taught us it is to value human life and our health. Nothing comes before that. Every person on the set will be looked after and given the same attention. We are also mulling closed door studios for those of our films that will go on the floors immediately. While it is available abroad, we need to see if the same can be replicated in India."
Deepshikha Deshmukh adds, “It is only natural that we take care of the team who are our family and ensure their safety while on the sets. I am quite sure we are not alone in realizing the first big lesson from this lockdown - health comes first. Every parameter will be double-checked before the cameras start rolling.”
Pooja Entertainment has a slew of movies on its roster. From Coolie No 1 starring Varun Dhawan and Sara Ali Khan which is complete and ready for release; it is also going to go on the floors with Bell Bottom with Akshay Kumar. There are many other projects that the production house is waiting to announce. With so much in store for the production house, prompting a set of guidelines in the current pandemic is not only vital but also judicious. Echoing the words of the Prime Minister, the founder of the ace production house, Vashu Bhagnani says, 'Jaan hai toh Jahan Hai' - perhaps indicating the thought process behind the charter.