Due to the continuing COVID-19 restrictions in Kerala, necessitated by the high number of cases reported every day, several filmmakers are shifting shooting locations to neighbouring states like Telangana and Tamil Nadu. One of the biggest producers in the Malayalam film industry, Antony Perumabavoor, said that despite waiting for long, the lockdown norms continue to bring restrictions.
"One of my films has been waiting for release for the past 18 months due to the pandemic. Now two films starring Mohanlal, which were to have been shot in Kerala, have been long delayed and hence we are moving to Telangana and the first one will begin its shoot tomorrow. This film is being directed by actor Prithviraj," said Antony.
Prithvirajâ€™s debut directorial Lucifer starring Mohanlal was directed by Antony. Itâ€™s understood that Prithviraj will direct a sequel to the film, titled Empuran.
Due to the lockdown norms in Kerala, film shooting cannot take place as planned which in turn is affecting the industry. However, with Telangana and Tamil Nadu opening up, industry sources said that seven films are all set to move out.
"I have taken up the issue of resuming film shooting with numerous people, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, but due to obvious reasons, nothing has happened. But, we cannot wait any longer. We all know that shooting outside Kerala is expensive, but still we have to do it," added Antony. Other than Antony, six other producers have moved shooting to other sttates, a source in the industry conformed to TNM.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the Malayalam film industry and according to industry sources close to 100 films are ready for release, but are forced to be shelved.
There are 720 movie halls in the state and the owners are also in dire straits. Many expected that these halls will open soon when theatres finally opened in January this year. However, the second COVID-19 wave has derailed all plans.
â€śShifting shooting locations will affect many in the industry, since only those who canâ€™t be replaced will move with the film. For other smaller jobs, local people from the new location will be hired. So smaller technicians in Kerala lose out,â€ť said a light boy who has been out of job for a long time.
(With IANS input)