The pandemic hit the world almost a year ago, bringing most entertainment productions to a halt. Bollywood is one of India’s top industries, bringing in $4.5 billion to the GDP. Unfortunately, when gatherings were banned, filming had to stop. However, with the light at the end of the tunnel, India’s cinemas have opened in many places to 100% capacity. Filming scenes with minimal actors and extras still remains a difficulty though. The industry has reported large losses during the shutdown and many actors, directors, producers, and crew members have been out of work. Here’s how Bollywood and entertainment, in general, are bouncing back.
Theatres Reopening is a Promising Sign
Although most of the population isn’t eager to flock back to the film theatre, reopening this space is a good sign for Bollywood companies that have been holding back certain releases for the big screen. Film theatres are also requiring heavier cleanup and distancing, so clients can feel safe going back to watch their favourite actors on the big screen.
Some Filming Allowed
Many productions are still shut down, and unfortunately, independent filmmakers and those without a big-budget backer will likely remain shut down for a while longer. However, larger film productions are allowed to resume as long as precautions are taken. Bollywood is a huge industry employing many individuals besides famous actors and directors. From lighting to sound, these individuals have been waiting on the pandemic to soften to go back to work.
However, many actors and actresses have been keeping busy during the pandemic by going on the small stream. From virtual readings to video clips, many of Bollywood’s favourites have tried to keep up with their fans on social media. They’ve been out of work too, waiting for productions to start up again. Although, many actors lean on their investments and other businesses. Our female Bollywood stars have alternative projects that keep them busy as well!
Getting Creative Amongst Filming Restrictions
There are many restrictions, including limiting extras and the number of people on sets. Makeup artists and designers are working without the usual help of dozens of assistants, which slows down production but allows for attention to detail! Wedding scenes in Bollywood films are known as some of the most intricate in all films, with elaborate dances featuring hundreds of dancers sometimes. Now, it’s up to directors to get creative with a limited staff.
For example, the production team of “Dostana 2,” a sequel to a popular 2008 romantic comedy has to come up with a dance sequence that will look lavish with 50 rather than the 300 dancers they initially planned on. It’ll be interesting to see these changes on the screen. The film’s assistant director, Jehan Handa, said, “In Bollywood, the number of people you have in a song is associated with its budget — if you can afford hundreds of dancers and all their costumes then it comes across as a very, big important song. Anything less, and it can look a bit cheap.” Choreographers will undoubtedly have to edit their techniques and come up with something new!
Some producers are relying on special effects to jazz up films during this time. Recent hit films such as “Padmaavat” and “Baahubali” showed off Bollywood’s digital effects capabilities and took them to new heights. Since then, many productions have been relying on digital production and special effects for their films.
Most of all, we see that the pandemic may encourage Indian film producers to go smaller and simpler, with fewer actors and less crowded sets – however, it’s definite that going smaller won’t take away from the production value of the films being filmed today.