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After IFTDA, IMPPA also writes to Maharashtra CM requesting change in guidelines

The letter comes days after a similar plea by the Indian Film and Television Director's Association, and a week after the government allowed film production to resume post the lockdown. 

Our Correspondent

The Indian Motion Pictures Producers' Association (IMPPA) has now written to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, requesting slight alterations to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued to production houses for the resumption of shooting post the lockdown. The letter follows a similar plea made by the Indian FIlm and Television Director's Association (IFTDA) to the chief minister requesting some leeway in two key guidelines. 

Drawing attention to some of the "totally impractical guidelines which cannot be implemented," the IMPPA asked for some leniency regarding four specific rules that the SOPs suggested. 

The guidelines set by the Maharashtra government were taken into consideration after close co-ordination with several film industry associations, including the Producers Guild of India and the FWICE (Federation of Western Indian Cine Workers), in addition to the mentioned groups. 

Like the IFTDA, the IMPPA has also requested some leeway in the presence of doctors and nurses at every shooting location, as well as allowing cast and crew over the age of 65 to be part of the shoot. The letter reads, "The guideline for the presence of a doctor, ambulance and nurse, throughout the shooting is something totally impossible as you are well aware because doctors, ambulances, and nurses are not even available in hospitals which are currently working and your government had to employ 100s of doctors from Kerala to fulfill the shortage..."

Instead, the association asked that the government allow production houses to keep a doctor and ambulance ''on-call',' to be requested when the need arises. 

Another clause refers to the inclusion of cast and crew members over the age of 65 at production shoots. The government had asked production houses to avoid employing staff over the age of 60 for they are the most vulnerable to viral infection. However, the IMPPA stated that several major stars and technical crew will be over the age of 60, making it unavoidable. 

Similarly, the IMPPA also called the guideline to employ families to represent or play families on screen as ''impractical,'' saying, "because all members of a family are not actors and acting is a specialised and novel profession and it is not possible for most human beings to act and hence the guideline is meaningless."

The IMPPA refer to the accomodation of the cast and crew in studio units. The government had stipulated that production houses should try to accomodate crew and cast at shooting locations as far as possible to avoid spread of infection, or employ hotels that are specifically hired for the entire unit. 

The IMPPA wrote "...guideline is also impossible to implement as all hotels and apartments available have already been occupied by the government for treatment of COVID-19 patients as well as quarantine and as such hardly any such hotel or apartment accommodation is available and if available anywhere,it will be impossible to have it exclusively for unit members and hence this guideline is also totally impossible to implement and should be deleted."

In addition, the letter also stated that some worker associations have suggested employing an inspector to ensure all the guidelines are fully implemented, as well as asking producers to record video evidence of implementation.

The letter also mentioned a matter of contention. While the state government's directives have declared that shootings can commence and that the managing director of Film City, Mumbai, will be the authority to give permission, Film City has responded saying that they have not received any clear directive from the state government yet. The IMPPA complained that a few members have approached the Film City board and been told the same. 

The letter also referred to the guidelines issued by the Karnataka state government, ''which is not only more practical but is easily implementable," asking the government "to kindly have the concerned department issue fresh set of guidelines after simplifying the same and implementing the required changes so that there is no confusion and work can start."

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