New episodes of Malayalam television serials will be telecast from June 1, nearly three months after all shootings had been stopped due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. All film and serial shootings had stopped in Kerala since March 10, days before the country went into a lockdown in its attempt to contain the spread of the disease.
“Shootings of television series have started a few days ago, when it was allowed by the government to resume the work with a maximum of ten people at a time. The shootings should also be indoors, which is fine, since most of the serials are shot indoors even otherwise,” says Dinesh Paniker, general secretary of the Association of Television Media Artistes (ATMA).
Serials like Vanampadi began shooting more than a week ago. Some others followed suit and now more serials will resume shooting. “Artistes from different places had to come together. And some are also put in quarantine, since they come from far off places. So scenes without these artistes are being shot now,” Dinesh says.
ATMA has also issued a number of instructions for the artistes and technicians to follow for their safety. “It includes keeping physical distancing at all times, not letting in any outsiders like we otherwise do when someone wants to watch the shooting or take a selfie with an artiste. We have also asked them to take individual care of costumes and makeup and wash the former in hot water after use. They should also wear masks before and after the shooting. However, we can’t compromise too much on the script, or rewrite scenes where artistes may need to interact closely, like if there is a fight scene. But if anyone on the set shows any symptoms of an illness, they will be sent home,” Dinesh adds.
With nearly three months of no work, the income of many artistes and technicians had been stalled. “While we can’t forever stay away from work, our first priority will be the safety of the cast and crew.”