Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday held a meeting with film industry stakeholders and assured them of SOPs, including allotment of land for a bigger film city, setting up affordable and dedicated theatres for Marathi films.
This meeting came in the view of the announcement of constructing a film city by Uttar Pradesh government.
Taking a veiled jibe at Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath in the inaugural session of a three-day webinar to discuss a policy for the entertainment sector in the state, Thackeray said that the state government would focus on providing best film productions facilities in the state. He also added that the state will work on setting up affordable theatres as well as dedicated theatres for Marathi films. “There are talks to take the Mumbai film city to Uttar Pradesh. Let them take it if they have capabilities. We will focus on quality and state-of-the-art production facilities,” Thackeray said.
Speaking at the inaugural session of Panorama — a policy discourse webinar, Thackeray asked various stakeholders of the film industry to prepare an action plan for strengthening film infrastructure including post-production facilities. Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra pointed out the need for a bigger film city somewhere along the Mumbai-Pune expressway. He also called for affordable theatres for the common man. Marathi actor Subodh Bhave rues that Marathi films do not get adequate space in theatres.
“We are going to make a rule to keep theatres reserved for Marathi films. We will definitely look for a flat piece of land. We also need to prioritise our plans in the wake of COVID-19 as to what should be taken up first. My government will do all it can for the progress and growth of the industry, whose foundation stone was laid by Dadasaheb Phalke, in its birthplace,” Thackeray said.
After another meeting with stakeholders from Marathi theatre, Thackeray allowed auditoriums for plays to operate at 50 per cent capacity.
Thackeray, who held a meeting with operators of theatres for plays and their producers, said producers of plays will have to remain cautious for their actors and audiences when auditoriums reopen as the threat of COVID-19 has not passed yet.
The CM reiterated that London and France are seeing a harsher second wave, and the state government intends to prevent a similar scenario in Maharashtra.
According to a statement from the chief minister’s office, Thackeray said, “The main difference between film and theatre is that the latter does not have the luxury of retakes. Therefore, there is a need to be extra cautious. Producers must carry out health check-up of actors, [actors should] maintain physical distance on the stage, maintain hygiene and cleanliness. Entry without masks should not be allowed in the theatres. Food stalls outside auditoriums must also ensure cleanliness and hygiene.”