Perhaps no industry in the country has taken a hit as the Hindi film industry has by the rapid spread of the dreaded Coronavirus. Analysts are of the opinion that the virus has already cost the box office a lot mainly due to theatre closures in India, China, Japan, South Korea, Italy and France. As an effect, more than half of cinemas across India have been shut down following orders from various state governments including Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar and Punjab.
The film industry is particularly vulnerable to the outbreak because both the production and also the consumption of its output require a large number of people to come together in small spaces. It is also a truly global industry: Studios and production companies have offices and film sets all over and they often require employees to frequently travel between them. What one needs is only to look at the end credits for most major films to see just how many locales a single two-hour film relies on in order to reach theatre screens.
While shooting a film, the production needs the presence of makeup artists and hairstylists who touch performers with gloves and masks on. If a principal actor gets sick and goes out of commission for an extended period of time, it can throw an entire production schedule into chaos.
As all shootings have been cancelled and theatres in many parts of the country been shut down amid Coronavirus outbreak, Bollywood stands to incur an estimated loss of Rs 800 crore. More than half of cinemas across the country – around 3500 screens – have been shutdown, following orders from various state governments including Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar and Punjab.
Tiger Shroff-Shraddha Kapoor-starrer Baaghi 3 hit theatres on March 6 and the film had collected Rs 90.67 crore in the first week of its release. Similarly, Irrfan Khan’s Angrezi Medium, in its run of just three days has collected Rs 9.5 crore. It is being said that the makers of Baaghi 3 suffered a loss of Rs 25-30 crore after the closure of the theatres. Theatres shutting down have also impacted the weekend business of Angrezi Medium.
On the shooting front, picturisation of a number of films such as Jersey, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 and Brahmastra have been cancelled too due to Coronavirus as is that of Salman Khan’s Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai, Vidya Balan’s Sherni, Bhumi Pednekar’s Durgavati and John Abraham’s Mumbai Saga have come to a stand still. This is the effect of the announcement of the Indian Motion Pictures Producer (IMPPA) that all production work shall come to a halt from March 19 to March 31.
All this has severely impacted film distributors and exhibitors.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)