COVID-19: Amendment to prohibit artistes over the age of 65 from shooting raises questions
After Hema Malini seeks amendment in government resolution prohibiting artistes over 65 from shooting in the wake of COVID-19, Shabana Azmi, Paresh Rawal question the discriminatory guideline.
On May 31, the state government announced the resumption of film and television shoots, issuing a comprehensive set of guidelines to be followed by the cast and crew. One of the regulations barred artistes and technicians over 65 years from shooting. This has created a furore in the industry that has several senior actors — including Amitabh Bachchan, Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Dharmendra and Mithun Chakraborty — at the top of their game.
Last week, Hema Malini shot off a letter to Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, requesting an amendment in the resolution. She cited the examples of Bachchan, Anupam Kher and herself stating that they "will be restricted from completing their previous and recurring projects."
Azmi, who was to film Mughal, her next with Nikkhil Advani, asserts that the rule is discriminatory. "A small portion of Vikas Khanna's untitled film has yet to be shot. What happens to these projects? Why should producers have to sign on younger artistes and make them sport grey hair? Why is this rule applied only to the film industry, and not politicians? Will they ensure that no leader above 65 will attend any political rally," she questions, before pointing out that it affects the livelihoods of countless senior technicians. "They don't run parallel businesses whereby they can make up their losses."
Even as he understands that the guideline has been designed to safeguard senior citizens from contracting the virus, Paresh Rawal, 65, believes the implementation is impractical. "[The sets] should have the necessary safety measures in place, including sanitisation. So many doctors and nurses over 65 years of age are on the field every day. They are exposed to more severe conditions."
Will KBC be delayed?
The fate of Kaun Banega Crorepati season 12 hangs in the balance, in light of the government resolution. After all, Amitabh Bachchan, 77, is synonymous with the quiz show. Amid rumours that Sony Entertainment may delay the latest season, a source from the show says, "KBC cannot be imagined without Big B. There is no question of the megastar being replaced. The shoot may be rescheduled." Despite the lockdown, the makers had kicked off the selection process in May.
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