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Covid impact: Lack of fresh TV content could spell drop in ad-revenue?




The decision of the Maharashtra government to stop all shooting impacts TV shows acutely, as compared to films or OTT series. The world of soaps, after all, needs a steady flow of content.

If shooting stops, channels are forced to run repeats. In turn that has direct impact on advertising revenue.

Many shows, realising the threat of that scenario are already shifting shooting base outside Maharashtra. “Hamari Wali Good News” is going to be shot at Manesar in Haryana. “Kundali Bhagya”, “Kumkum Bhagya”, “Qurbaan Hua” and “Apna Time Bhi Ayega” move to Goa. “Teri Meri ikk Jindri” is shifting base to Jaipur while “Kyun Rishton Mein Katti Batti” is moving to Surat for now.

The scene is similar for many reality shows. According to sources, “Indian Idol” has an episode bank for two weeks right now and “Super Dancer: Chapter 4” has a bank for a week.

Confirming that his show is shifting base, lead actor Siddhaanth Vir Surryavanshi of “Kyun Rishton Mein Katti Batti” says the entire team was tested for Covid on Wednesday and will be travelling on Friday.

“This was unexpected and the entire storyline is being reworked overnight. So, we are not sure what it will be but the story will definitely move outdoors,” he says, adding: “We will be moving to a resort and will be in a bio bubble. We will be following protocol.”

Siddhaanth adds they are mentally prepared to stay for a month. “Looking at how last year turned out. We are mentally prepared to be out for a month. I am going to miss my family and the comfort of home, but this is also a good time to bond with the team,” he says.

Budgets will be impacted, of course. According to experts, the cost of shooting an episode per day comes to Rs 1-1.5 lakh minimum. In this case, it could go up to Rs 2-2.5 lakh per day.

Trade analyst Atul Mohan says that due to this gap, producers might be forced to run old content, which might lead to advertisers consider the idea of backing out.

“Advertisers book slots a month in advance, sometimes they also do so for the entire season. So, they might stop their ads and agree to continue the contract once the fresh episodes are on air. Channels will lose money from ads. Of course, they will generate money from their web channels,” he says.

Ad guru Prahlad Kakkar dissects the situation bluntly: “If they are not shooting, then they are not earning. And who said this will last only for 15 days?”

While they continue to be worried about how their shows will survive, the actors also feel that the step has been taken in everyone’s interest.

Actor Prateik Chaudhary, who was last seen in Paramavatar Shri Krishna, says that this time off would give him a chance to work on himself.

“For an actor, shooting is not the only thing he needs to consider as work, I guess being an actor is a 24/7 job. You need to work on your craft, work on your fitness, and many things. When I don’t have a shoot or work, rather than cribbing or being negative, I am focusing on myself. I am really using this time in many things like doing my home workout, working on my acting craft, watching a lot of movies and series,” he says.

Actor Mrunal Jain says that this is the time for actors to look at other types of content.

“We were not expecting this at all and now this has led to a lot of uncertainty as to what will happen. I hope that the shows are able to survive as I am sure not many have large episode banks. As for me, I am at home, but I am regularly shooting content for social media. I feel this is the time that we can reconnect with our fans,” he says.

Kunal Jaisingh ends on an optimistic note. “We just started shooting, and somehow we really sensed looking at the situation that lockdown can be imposed. Even after so much of precautions and after following all Covid-19 guidelines so many actors and people on set tested positive. Hope the phase of lockdown lasts for a small time and we resume our work the soonest. We are already missing the shoot vibes,” he sums up the situation.


Lizaa Malik helps employees in Delhi amid Covid-19 crisis




Actress Lizaa Malik is in the city to help her employees, who have tested positive for Covid-19.

“It’s a precarious time for everyone. Things are falling off for a lot of people. We have about 50 of our employees who tested positive. This is the time we have to stand for them and I am not turning away,” Lizaa said.

Lizaa added she, along with her business partner, is providing for ICU beds and anything else that might be required — be it financially or emotionally.

“We are in it together and we will stand strong. I request everyone to follow all the SOPs and take care of themselves. Stay indoors if it’s not an emergency. And this too shall pass. We have to fight this battle together,” she said.

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Anshuman Jha ‘had to be extra careful’ playing gay character in new film




Actor Anshuman Jha plays a homosexual boy in the upcoming film “Hum Bhi Akele Tum Bhi Akele”, and he says he was careful to avoid stereotypes and caricatures that often accompany the portrayal of gay characters in films.

“I did feel responsible as an actor when I took this character because being a heterosexual man who was playing a homosexual character, I had to be extra careful and sensitive towards the portrayal. I do not want to play Veer (his role) in a caricaturish manner, on in those stereotyped ways,” Anshuman told IANS.

“Honestly, playing a gay man with sensitivity was a genuine challenge and I did a certain amount of research work, and interacted with people. I have friends in the LGBTQ community, too, so I have a certain amount of insight. I hope the audience sees it in my performance,” he added.

The film directed by Harish Vyas is about a homosexual boy and a lesbian girl on a road trip that lets them discover the essence of love in friendship. While Anshuman plays the gay boy, Zareen Khan essays the lesbian girl.

“I think acceptance of different voices is important, and that was the most important part of the story. I remember Harish sir shared the story of the film in a few lines to me in a cab as we rode from the New York airport to our destination. He told me it is a story of a boy, and a girl and a road trip. I said ok, what else? He said they are soulmates. The boy is gay, and the girl is a lesbian. During the journey, they discover pure love and friendship that they share for each other. I was just hooked there. It was a fascinating story for me, and the dimension between the boy and the girl from the LGBTQ community also shows their side of the story, and how they struggle in our society for acceptance,” said Anshuman.

The film has been screened at various international film festivals and has also won a few awards. Anshuman bagged Best Actor (jury) at the Rajasthan International Film Festival and the film received the Best Film Audience Choice Award at the HBO South Asian Film Festival.

“Hum Bhi Akele Tum Bhi Akele” releases on Disney+ Hotstar VIP and Disney+ Hotstar Premium on May 9.

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Lyricist Amitabh S. Verma on directing web series ‘Teen Do Paanch’




Lyricist Amitabh S. Verma, who has also directed short films as “Hotel Park Street” and “Bhor”, has helmed his first series “Teen Do Paanch”, starring Shreyas Talpade and Bidita Bag.

The series tells a couple’s story, about how their life changes after they adopt three kids.

“I have always liked slice-of-life films that are in the real space and relatable. We have tried to make the series as real as possible. This is a story my wife Shruti Anindita Vermaa, who is a known television producer and director, had written. We adapted that into a series and added a lot of elements. All these elements in the series have been taken from real life and I am sure many people are going to relate to it. Adoption is a serious theme but we have treated it in a light manner so that it doesn’t become too heavy for the viewers,” Verma told IANS.

He says working with Shreyas Talpade was a treat. “Working with Shreyas Talpade is a dream come true. I have always been a fan of his. He is not only a brilliant actor but also a great human being and now a friend for life. His humility is exemplary. Many a time, we had to shoot for more than 12 hours at a stretch because we had to finish the shoot within 25 days, but he never ever complained. He was always ready with his costume and makeup and always on time. I don’t think we have many actors who are as professional as him. It was a great experience working with him and I would love to work with him again,” he says.

Verma has a lot of work in the pipeline.

“I am writing a feature film that will be shot in July if everything is okay. My wife is going to direct a feature film. Right now, I am also writing her film. A lot of documentaries and a superb travel series are in the pipeline. I am also casting for my next feature film. It is a comedy that I am sure will be loved by people,” he declares.

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