MNS warns filmmakers in Maharashtra of forcibly stopping shootings if Covid-19 protocols flouted

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Published on Sep 22, 2020 11:15 PM IST
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ByNaresh Kamath, Mumbai

In the backdrop of the death of veteran Marathi actor Ashalata Wabgaonkar due to Covid-19 she had reportedly contracted during the shooting of a Marathi TV serial, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has warned producers to strictly follow the safety guidelines.

The MNS Cine Workers Association has threatened that they will stop shootings if the producers flout guidelines. Ameya Khopkar, president of the association said, “Some producers, in order to cut costs, are not following the protocols issued by the government in view of the Covid-19 threat. They are putting the lives of the actors and the technicians at risk. I am warning that if we find any such case, we will crack down on such elements and stop their shoots.”

Wabgaonkar, 79, was a well-known actor who had worked in over 100 Marathi and Hindi films like Woh Saat Din, Ankush and Namak Halal. She reportedly got infected with Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, on the sets of a Marathi serial she was shooting at Satara. She was admitted to a private hospital where she succumbed to the virus.

The Maharashtra government, as the part of its Mission Begin Again, had permitted film shootings to take place from June 1 but framed various guidelines. These included social distancing, shooting in secured premises and restrictions on crowds.

Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Chitrapat Mahamandal (ABMCM), an association of Marathi filmmakers agreed that the protocols need to be followed strictly. “We have formed a flying squad which will pay visits to the various sets and check whether they are following the guidelines. We will even complain to the police if we find any lethargy on this issue,” said Meghraj Rajebhosle, president, ABMCM. However, he said that MNS should not forcibly stop the shootings. “The MNS can check but forcibly stopping the shoot is wrong. They should follow the due process of law,” he added.

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