Just as the industry was celebrating the return of audiences to theatres to watch big-ticket films and rejoicing at the prospect of brisk business in overseas territories, the Omicron variant has upset the best-laid plans.
Veteran producer Anand Pandit ruminates, “We are facing a third wave considering the surge in cases and it is a matter of grave concern not just for business but for the entire nation. There could be setbacks in the exhibition sector once again but let us remember that the industry has survived an extended lockdown, massive loss of revenue, production hindrances, and release delays. We have survived to tell the tale and there is no reason why we cannot deal with the latest challenge. I feel we are better prepared today than we were when the pandemic first took us by surprise. From not knowing what to do next, we are now shooting films in bio bubbles, managing pre and post-production, and even travelling. The show will go on with utmost caution of course.”
He says the overseas markets may be affected also and forthcoming releases like SS Rajamouli’s RRR, Prabhas-starrer Radhe Shyam may have to wait out this phase.
He adds, “Certain territories have been affected more than the others in the pandemic and overseas distributors have been in distress but this time will pass too. We may have to be satisfied with less screen count but let us remember that compared to where we were two years ago, every small step forward indicates that we have made progress. For now, the biggest priority is to stay safe and be as responsible as possible to ensure that the virus is contained.”