The Kerala government announced on Saturday, July 17, that shooting of films can resume in the state. This is to be followed with proper COVID-19 safety protocols in place, similar to those on television serial sets, which were allowed to resume shooting earlier. The move comes after the Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) issued a statement directed to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, requesting the government to allow film shooting.
In its letter to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, issued on Wednesday, FEFKA pointed out how several films including big-budget Mollywood projects have shifted to other states for shooting, adding to the woes of local daily wage workers in the Malayalam film industry (who lost opportunities when the sets moved). The shooting of movies in the state has been suspended by the Kerala government since the middle of April, in view of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
FEFKA had also questioned the government's logic in permitting the shooting of television serials and not allowing films to resume production work. â€śMost of the people working in the film industry have taken at least one dose of vaccination. We have requested several times to allow us to shoot by taking RT-PCR tests and creating a bio bubble as well as following all other restrictions. We don't understand the logic behind denying us permission to shoot while taking a different approach towards serials,â€ť the statement read.
Citing how seven Mollywood movies, including actor and director Prithviraj Sukumaranâ€™s next with actor Mohanlal â€“ Bro Daddyâ€“ have shifted their shooting to locations to Telangana and Tamil Nadu recently, FEFKA highlighted how it has led to job loss. "Our workers have become jobless now," it wrote.
FEFKA had also underlined the relief measures provided by the government, as well as the ones undertaken by the film body to help the workers in the industry affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The letter noted that during the first lockdown, the government had sanctioned financial aid worth Rs 2,000 for every film labourer. The film body added more funds to it and raised an amount of over Rs 2 crore to provide financial assistance to its members. â€śAll our organisations and colleagues chipped in and made it Rs 5,000 for every film employee. The organisation also helped with food, medicine and other needs of the workers and spent around Rs 2,25,00,000 for their welfare,â€ť it said.