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COVID-19 will change filmmaking and viewing experience, says Shoojit Sircar

Referring to the demand for good content from the audience, Shoojit said cinema was already undergoing a transformation in India but the lockdown may accelerate the process.

Published: 14th April 2020 02:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th April 2020 02:23 PM   |  A+A-

Bollywood director Shoojit Sircar

Bollywood director Shoojit Sircar (Photo | PTI)

By PTI

MUMBAI: The coronavirus led shutdown is going to change the way films are made or consumed, believes filmmaker Shoojit Sircar.

The country is currently under the lockdown, which has been extended till May 3 to contain the spread of the virus that has affected many countries across the globe.

"When a change of mindset happens, there is a change. I expect it around the world. It is definitely going to change the narrative of the filmmaking style and also the narrative of story-telling. It will have an effect but what kind is difficult to say as India is huge in terms of consumption," the director told PTI.

Referring to the demand for good content from the audience, Shoojit said cinema was already undergoing a transformation in India but the lockdown may accelerate the process.

"There is a cinema that was changing in India but now it will take a deeper impact. I hope that we are able to see good cinema content."

With all the shootings and releases on a standstill, streaming platforms are the only source of entertainment for many who are staying home, which has led to a boom in the digital content, the director said.

"Maybe in the lockdown period, people got into the habit of watching movies at home. Digital, may have a boom or is still booming when we get the real numbers. They must be doing well because that is the only consumption left at this moment. So all this impact will happen and the film industry will not get an excuse or will not escape from this kind of crisis that the world is going through."

The director said it is difficult to gauge the exact impact of lockdown and the pandemic on cine-goers.

"Even if the lockdown is over by a month or two, it will take some time to gain the confidence of the audience back because people are watching (content) at home rather than going to a riskier place. It will be a general mindset."

"If you ask me, that will be my mindset too. If I am not able to go to theatres confidently and watch a film then I don't expect people to watch my film also. It doesn't seem logical that in the next three-four months at least things will be smooth in terms of cinema watching," he added.

Shoojit had two films lined up for release - 'Gulabo Sitabo' set to arrive in cinema halls on April 17.

The film reunites Ayushmann Khurrana with Shoojit, eighth years after their hit, "Vicky Donor" and also features megastar Amitabh Bachchan.

Another release was Vicky Kaushal starrer 'Sardar Udham Singh' for January 2021.

Set in Lucknow, "Gulabo Sitabo" is billed as a quirky family comedy, penned by Sircar's longtime collaborator Juhi Chaturvedi.

They have worked together on "Vicky Donor", "Piku" and "October".

"I had a film ‘Gulabo Sitabo" to be out this month (April) but it is definitely going to get postponed.

While for another film ('Sardar Udham Singh') editing was going on, we have stopped it when the lockdown was announced.

We are waiting whenever it opens and we will restart work on it.

"It is too early to say anything. The entire industry needs to come together and sit. It will be a bottle-neck jam."

Shoojit, meanwhile, is keeping himself occupied by cooking in this lockdown period.

"I am cooking. That is also the most creative work. I have developed this habit for a few years and I enjoy it. I am doing general household work, reading a bit and less of movie watching. I am watching a lot of documentaries of all kinds. Documentary films have always been my passion, I have done documentaries."

The director said it is hard to accomplish something creative at a difficult time like this.

"I am taking it as it comes. I will have enough time to do that when the lockdown opens. My mindset is not there, it is around the world like what is happening."

In this kind of situation sometimes your mind also doesn't work as freely as we can. So I am keeping it the way it is flowing with the world 'the way the world is going through.'

Shoojit said it is not necessary that one has to always stay occupied with work.

"I am trying' not me, a lot of people. We all have a habit of doing something or the other, first time I have got the chance of not doing something all the time. The one lesson that I am taking is you don't have to do everything or a lot of things or a lot of thinking, just let your mind be sometimes blank also."


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