By Sushree Sangeeta
Films, which are yet to be released are even more susceptible to weak footfalls given the increasing tendency among viewers to avoid group engagements lest it triggers fears of contracting the virus. This is likely to impact box office revenues.
The Indian film industry is one of the largest in the world in terms of the number of films released.
Meanwhile, regional film industries including Ollywood also face the same crisis. While the number of movie releases and screens are fairly less in the Odia film industry, the impact on the persons involved in this business is larger than expected.
On the other hand, owners of single-screen movie theatres in Odisha are not very optimistic about the revival of the ailing sector. Jayashree Cinema Hall of Cuttack district is going to stop screening movies forever- it is going to close operations for all times to come.
If major films are not released at the cinema halls in the coming days, the entire single screen sector will likely seize.
With cinema halls shut and film releases suspended amid the nation-wide lockdown, makers are resorting to OTT platforms to keep the entertainment business alive.
The media and entertainment sector is expected to witness a 16 per cent decline in revenue for FY21, due to falling in advertisement and subscription income in the wake of coronavirus-induced lockdown, rating agency Crisil said.
The industry would take a hit of around 18 per cent in revenue from advertisements that accounts for nearly 45 per cent of total income, while the subscription earning that contributes 55 per cent will be relatively resilient with a likely decline of 14 per cent, Crisil said in a report.
The lockdown which does not include any serious plan to assist millions of low-paid workers has drastically impacted the Indian film industry and its workforce which largely subsists on daily wages.
Those hit by the crisis include a posse of showbiz professionals– assistant directors, artists, designers, location assistants, script supervisors, camera assistants, and lighting– and motion-control technicians.
Besides, artists also face challenges including those regarding the financial framework that has heavily impacted their lives.
While actors and singers are enthusiastic and passionate to continue working, opportunities have become limited for them due to the unexpected crisis induced by the virus.
“Due to this lockdown and Covid situation, our entertainment sector is suffering the most. We all agree with the government guidelines and are also obeying it. The shuttering of cinema halls and theatres across the country, and the ‘social distancing’ and ‘stay at home’ advisories from the authorities, have severely affected operations in the media and entertainment industry”, said Ollywood actor Devasis Mohanty.
Noted Ollywood director Sanjay Nayak said, “None of us was prepared for such a pandemic, but all I can say is that we are together in this and soon will get clarity from the government. Theatre owners must regain the confidence of the people. It won’t be easy and the highest levels of hygiene and sanitation, as well as social distancing, will have to be maintained hope for the best to get some good news soon”.