MUMBAI: Even as the television industry was reeling under the effect of shoots being halted due to the second wave of Covid-19, the cyclone Tauktae has worsened the situation, with majority TV sets in Maharashtra, Gujarat and areas damaged in a big way.
JD Majethia, chairman, Indian Film and Television Producers Council (IFTPC) says almost every set has incurred some damage or the other as the makers were not prepared for this sort of a weather hazard, especially with monsoon nowhere around as yet.
"Mid-May is when we prepare for the monsoon and look at whatever work needs to be done on the set. This was due, and we were waiting for permission so that, with lockdown being lifted, we could start. But the cyclone struck and all the sets -- outdoors, exterior, indoor -- have been affected. Something or the other is damaged. Somewhere, trees have fallen on the exteriors," he says.
He adds: "On my set (Wagle Ki Duniya), a tree smashed the border wall and there is a hole in the roof through which water is pouring in. Some of the sets that had big exteriors are washed out completely. It's a challenging time for us. We hope we get to do some work on our sets immediately so that when we have to start, we are in a safer zone."
Majethia is relieved that at least there are no causalities. "The flip side is no shoots were on, so no casualties have been reported," he says.
Amit Behl, senior joint secretary and chairperson, Outreach Committee, CINTAA, says the effect of this destruction is going to trickle down to the actors and workers.
"It is very saddening that apart from the loss of life and property on the western coast of India, film sets and TV sets have been destroyed. It is a big loss to the production house and producers. Actors were just resuming work after a long layoff. It will affect all of us," he says.
"Actors will have to wait and producers will have to decide on a new place to shoot and restructure the entire thing. When the economics get affected, the entire ecosystem gets affected and actors get affected too. The industry is anyway going through a major loss and it filters down to the lowest common denominator, workers and actors. We are concerned and hope to get out of it fast," he adds.
Actress Deepshika Nagpal, who is currently shooting for the show "Ranju Ki Betiyaan" in Silvassa, says they had to move the set indoors due to strong winds.
"It was terrible. The winds were strong and there was heavy rainfall. Our shoot for the day was supposed to be an open location and we had started shooting when it suddenly started raining, causing a state of confusion. We had to rush all equipment inside. Thankfully, the production house of 'Ranju Ki Betiyaan' had taken necessary precautions so there was no damage to the property or physical damage, but the shooting schedule went haywire except for a a few indoor scenes. But my colleagues and I were worried that if the cyclone continued, we might have to stop shooting altogether," she says.
Producer Rajan Shahi's show "Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai" was being shot in Gujarat and a video of the crew running to take equipment inside has gone viral. There was also news that the shoots of "Anupamaa" and "Mann Kee Awaz Pratigya 2" had to be cancelled.