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'Will audiences be ready to enter cinema halls?'

April 27, 2020 14:15 IST

'The entertainment industry is on the verge of a big, big, change over the next few months and years.'

Photograph: Kind courtesy Madhur Bhandarkar/Instagram

The world will never be the same after coronavirus.

Just like any other business out there, the pandemic has hugely impacted Bollywood.

National Award-winning film-maker Madhur Bhandarkar feels the entertainment industry is in for a massive change over the next few months.

"When an actor is on a movie set, he is surrounded by so many people. Will he be comfortable shooting in a crowd now?" he asks Rediff.com Contributor Mohnish Singh.

What have you been doing to keep yourself occupied in the lockdown?

I am interacting with a lot of relatives and friends in India and abroad.

I am talking to them over the phone, video-calling them and Facetiming them.

I am also reading a lot these days.

I am currently reading Rasheed Kidwai's Neta Abhineta. It is about Bollywood stars who ventured into politics. It is a good read.

Before Neta Abhineta, I read an interesting book by Vinod Mehta, Lucknow Boy: A Memoir.

So, yeah, I am reading different, different, books on different, different, subjects.

Nowadays I have free time, so I am reading them one by one.

These are the books which I purchased a long time ago, but could never read them because of time constraints.

I was always busy in travelling, meetings and all of that.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Madhur Bhandarkar/Instagram

Are you consuming a lot of content on OTT platforms?

I am watching a lot of documentaries, films and Web series.

I watched a beautiful series called The Last Czars on Netflix. It is about the Russian czars.

Then I watched The Royals, which is about a (fictional) royal family.

How does your day begin amid COVID-19 restrictions?

I exercise in the morning.

Sometimes I do cardio exercises, other times I lift weights.

You cannot go into the open to walk and jog, so I walk on my treadmill.

We have seen several videos of celebrities spending time in the kitchen. Do you cook too?

The most I can make is anda-bhurji and I did try that.

I make it very well and am proud of it! (laughs)

That is the only thing I make often these days. Besides tea and coffee, of course.

Usually, I do a lot of cleaning at home. I keep cleaning mirrors and glasses. Everything has to be neat and clean.

My room has to be done perfectly. I am very particular about it.

There is a lot of clutter, so it is good to get rid of unnecessary things.

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Photograph: Kind courtesy Madhur Bhandarkar/Instagram

Of all the Web shows you have watched, is there any particular international show which you feel should get an Indian adaptation?

I believe India has its own texture and style of cinema. You cannot have those foreign narratives here.

I am talking about the subjects, not the style or presentation. Our content is very different from theirs.

What are you missing the most these days?

I miss going to my office.

I miss interacting with my team of writers and bouncing ideas off them.

I hope things return to normalcy soon.

What is the first thing you would like to do after the lockdown is over?

I am a great devotee of Ganpati, so the first thing that I will do after the lockdown is lifted is visit the Siddhi Vinayak temple.

I have always visited the Siddhi Vinayak temple before starting anything new.

We will all start afresh after the coronavirus pandemic is over.

Besides that, I want to have vada-pav. That is one of my favourite snacks. I have been missing it.

I think every Mumbaikar is missing vada-pav in this lockdown.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Madhur Bhandarkar/Instagram

Do you think it will be difficult for actors and film-makers to go back to their 12-hour shifts after the lockdown is lifted?

See, the whole industry is in for a massive overhaul.

At the moment, we do not have a roadmap.

Nobody knows what is in store for the industry in the times to come.

Nobody knows how the industry will get back on its feet again.

When an actor is on a movie set, he is surrounded by so many people. Will he be comfortable shooting in a crowd now?

If somebody is playing a rockstar in a film, is imagining a huge crowd surrounding him possible?

How will we tackle these issues?

Will the audience be ready to enter cinema halls with the same excitement?

How are theatre owners going to deal with it in times when everybody is talking about social distancing?

So the entertainment industry is on the verge of a big, big, change over the next few months and years.

It is going to be a pre-corona and post-corona era for the entertainment industry.

The ongoing situation must have impacted your next project Inspector Ghalib.

I cannot say what will happen after two, three months. There will be a lot of writing and rewriting.

Producers who agreed to invest their money in a project a few months ago may not want to go ahead anymore. I am just giving an example.

They may ask to introduce new aspects into the story.

Besides, I am working on two-three scripts and something for OTT platforms also.

I think the COVID-19 crisis itself makes for a great script (laughs). There are so much aspects and elements to it.

MOHNISH SINGH