Paradise Locked
Paradise Locked
As it waits out the shutdown, a circle of dangers presses closer on Bollywood
Giridhar Jha

The cameras have stopped, and so have the entire universe that revolves around it, with its various, interdependent eco-systems—a near-biblical desolation. Not just Bollywood, the coronavirus scare appears to have infected the entire entertainment industry and it may take it months, if not years, to recover from the crippling blow.

As the rest of the world continues to grapple with a pandemic, the release of many a potential blockbuster has been put on hold. Shooting schedules of several big-ticket extravaganzas have gone haywire. So has consumption of finished parcels of dreams and nightmares—all theatres, single-screen and multiplexes, have been shut down. With the deadly virus wrapping its tentacles over the Indian film and television industry, it has caught dream merchants—from big studios to independent film-makers—unawares.

Film industry pundits appear to be at a loss to even fathom the magnitude of current and future financial losses befalling a sector where every weekend matters in the long term. Even by a conservative estimate, the entertainment industry stands to lose a minimum of Rs 500 crore in the first few weeks of the lockdown enforced by the Centre from March 25 to contain the spread of the contagion. It appears to be just the beginning of a prolonged, dark spell, something unprecedented in the industry.

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April 13, 2020