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IFTDA writes to CM Uddhav Thackeray, wants two clauses in guidelines revised

The first clause refers to the employment of actors above 65, while the second is regarding the presence of a doctor and nurse on sets. 

Our Correspondent

The Standard Operationg Procedure issued by the government of Maharashtra for film industries to resume work was welcomed and proved to be a reassuring step on arrival. But the fine print has revealed a slight hiccup that needs to be set right. The Indian Film and Television Director's Association (IFTDA) has now written to state chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, asking for laxity in two key areas - employment of actors over the age of 65 and allowing production to continue in the absence of doctors on set. 

The letter reads, "We are glad to note that each and every point that we had presented and discussed in the above meeting has been considered and implemented in the GR released by the government. All the clauses that are mentioned in the GR are in line with the requirements raised by the stake holders of the industry. However, we would like to request you to please revisit the below 2 clauses mentioned in the GR."

The first clause was put in place as people above the age of 65 are most vulnerable to the viral infection and have a high mortality rate. However, the clause also means that some of the top actors in the industry may not be able to resume shooting.

The letter from IFTDA mentions this, saying, "Sir, let us inform you that major legendary actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Paresh Rawal, Annu Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah, Dharmendra, Shakti Kapoor, Mithun Chakraborty, Pankaj Kapur, Jackie Shroff, Danny Denzongpa, Dalip Tahil, Tinnu Anand, Rakesh Bedi, Kabir Bedi and others as well as legendary directors, filmmakers and writers like Anil Sharma, David Dhawan, Subhash Ghai, Shyam Benegal, Mani Ratnam, Prakash Jha, Shekhar Kapur, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Mahesh Bhat, Priyadarshan, Gulzar, Javed Akhtar and others who are above 65 years are actively working in the industry. This clause is therefore impractical since it would restrict some of the great luminaries of our industry."

The guidelines were put forward by several associations, including the Producers' Guild of India, and the Federation of Western Indian Cine Workers (FWICE), as part of the petitions to the state government to allow production houses to resume shooting after the lockdown. 

The IFTDA also requested the state government to waive off the necessity of hiring a doctor and a nurse to be present on set. They wrote, "We would like to bring to your kind notice that the state is already facing issues due to non-availability of doctors and nurses to cope with the increased number of patients from the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore it is not practical to have a doctor and a nurse to be stationed at each shooting premises." Instead, the association agreed to have a doctor and a nurse present in the area to oversee multiple shoots simultaneously. 

It is not yet known if the state government will accept the conditions. Maharashtra remains one of the worst affected states in the pandemic, and under high risk.