After several months of lull, cinemas are slowly trying to get back to business. Given the situation and the fact that many went jobless when theatres were shut, director Abhishek Sharma feels it’s time they are given chance to be back to their feet. Supporting the government’s decision to reopen theatres, he opines that people can’t stop living while waiting for the Covid-19 vaccine to arrive.
“Beyond a certain point, we all have to work to earn our livelihood by following the guidelines and SOPs given by the government. What I know theatres have been managing things well starting from social distancing to sanitisation,” he says.
Though it’s understandable that people who are old and have co-morbidities are sceptical to take the risk, Sharma adds, “Well, if we’re doing everything to get election ready then I guess cinemas are much protected and safer. Even when you travel by air there is no social distancing in economy class but in theatres at least there are gap between seats.”
Referring to two new releases that did well in West Bengal during Durga Puja, he’s hopeful that theatres sail these challenging times.
“After 9/11 we didn’t stop flying, rather we made our securities stronger. Similarly with Covid-19 we’ve to strengthen our health-care system and follow the SOPs given by the government. The responsibility is also on us to wear mask, sanitise and maintain physical distance,” he urges.
Sharma is both excited and nervous as his next directorial venture, Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari, will be the first fresh film to release in theatres.
“I’m just keeping my fingers crossed. Thankfully the reaction to the trailer and how positively the Censor Board, which is technically your first audience, reacted during the screening,” he says, adding they’re working on distribution and marketing to spread awareness around the film.
“We’ll also have OTT release and TV premiere. But more than anything else the theatrical response is what we’re looking forward to,” says the director, whose next, tentatively titled Ray, is with John Abraham. This would be their second venture after Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran.
He shares, “We’d be approaching a new genre with the film. It’s a human story but something very different. We will start shooting mid 2021. We were supposed to start early but the pandemic delayed everything.”
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Author tweets @Shreya_MJ