Carrying their own make-up kits, wearing masks and gloves when not facing the camera, maintaining social distance as much as possible and small crews define the New Normal on TV shows as Mumbais studios cautiously reopen, and the actors are not complaining.
The coronavirus pandemic had brought the daily shooting of TV shows to a halt in March. It was just a few days ago that some of the actors started shooting for fresh episodes, after Maharashtra government gave the green signal a while back.
Actress Aparna Dixit was among the early birds. "My first day on set after the lockdown was unlike any other shoot day of my career. I was very excited to be finally in front of the camera but was also cautious about my safety. From carrying my personal sanitiser to my make-up, I did everything that I could possibly do to minimise my interaction with others. I also called for the script on my phone as the hard copy would have been touched by multiple people," the "Pyar Ki Luka Chuppi" actress told IANS.
Other than that, the production house has been taking precautions for the safety of the team. "They provided every one with safety kits and made sure all the surfaces were sanitised. There were temperature checks when we entered the sets and it was mandatory for everyone to wear a mask and the shield. And only the people who were required during the shoot were allowed on the set," said Aparna.
Actress Gracy Singh, who is seen as Santoshi Maa in "Santoshi Maa Sunaye Vrat Kathyein", shared that the moment she got a call confirming the shoot date, her excitement knew no bounds.
"I prepared my bag with the required accessories and make-up items properly sanitised and even kept aside my character outfit that I wore from home to the sets. Only the touch-up was done on the sets once or twice," she said.
"The moment we reached the sets, our temperature and body oxygen levels, were screened. We welcomed each other in our traditional Indian style, i.e. Namaste, followed by a quick catching up session. There were limited people on sets and were wearing masks, including me. At every point in and around the sets, there were umpteen number of sanitiser bottles and sprays. It was quite a distinct experience, but I am sure with time, we all will get used to it," she added.
Actor Tarun Khanna has also commenced shooting for "Devi: Adi Parashakti".
"Since our shoots are taking place in Umbergaon, which is a green zone area, we were quarantined for about 14-16 days before we resumed our shoot. It was compulsory for all the actors and the crew to be quarantined for the said period. Our producers are taking very good care of us. They have ensured that a doctor visits every team member's room twice a day to get his or her temperature and pulse checked. Right outside our studio, we all are made to go through a sanitisation tunnel after which our temperatures are checked again. And all the other protocols are taken care of," he said.
Some actors stayed back in Umbergaon where a lot of TV shows are shot. Actress Mallika Singh, who essays the role of Radha in "RadhaKrishn - Krishn-Arjun Gatha", was one of them.
"During the whole lockdown, I was in Umbergoan with my mom. We had thought of going back to Mumbai as my grandparents stay there. They had suggested us to stay back as the situation in Mumbai was quite bad and we weren't aware when the shooting would start," she said.
As for safety measures, she said: "If it is not possible for the production house's team to wash our clothes daily, I will ensure that I will wash my costumes worn for daily shoots. I will avoid coming in contact with others. I will ensure that I wear a mask at all times and gloves too while not shooting."
Her co-star Kinshuk Vaidya agrees that the whole process of shooting has changed now.
"There are very limited members on set, especially when the artiste is shooting, there are hardly eight people on set. No one is scared, everyone is very enthusiastic. They have accepted the change very well. Everyone has been given masks, gloves, face shields and protective clothing," he told IANS.
"Artistes are supposed to wear masks and gloves when not shooting. We are carrying our own sanitisers. We have our own make-up kits, so there is no sharing of make-up. Cars, clothes and rooms are being sanitised. And we are trying to keep a safe distance from each other," he shared.
Others are also gearing up to resume shoot soon.
The team of "Ek Mahanayak Dr. B. R. Ambedkar" will get back to work on Friday.
Actress Rashami Desai will return to the "Naagin 4" set soon.
"I will be shooting for the 'Naagin 4' finale. But honestly, I have no idea about how many days I'm going to shoot and, I'm a little unaware of the changes that have happened because of the current situation. But I'm excited that we are going to have the same routine lifestyle but in a different manner like taking care of a lot of rules and regulations. The number of people is going to be very less, and there will be creative changes in the show also. All excited but yes, subconsciously it's always there in the back of the mind, as the situation still hasn't gotten under control. We will be taking all the precautions and necessity measures for safety," she said.
"Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain" actress Shubhangi Atre is nervous yet excited about working again.
"We will have to be extra careful and be very serious while working. I will carry my own food and also try to shoot perfectly in one shot as we will not get much time to reshoot again and again. We will have to cope with the less time work schedule. We need to be more punctual," she said.
Asked if she would prefer the show makers to arrange an accommodation near their shooting location, she said: "No, not a good idea. Once you go back home, you get fresh and new energy to perform the next day."
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