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Monday, February 1, 2021

Hollywood urged to halt movie production .. .. in TN - request is made for full capacity of theatres !!!

Tamil Nadu has high no. of literates – yet ‘dream factory’  has dominated them in every sphere.  A small time hero having acted in couple of films starts nurturing hopes and vision of becoming a political leader and in felicitations, his fans might shout ‘future CM’. Actors by and large have enjoyed larger than life image and cult status.  While a popular actor can travel by a train or walk on the streets in Kerala, such a thing cannot happen for a small hero too – that is the fan following. 

In my school days in late 1970s – there used to hot exchanges between benches -  Sunil Gavaskar Vs Gundappa Vishwanath; Bjorn Borg Vs John Mcenroe; Illayaraja Vs MS Viswanathan; Rajni Vs Kamal; Balachander Vs Barathiraja.  Those days films would be released on Fridays – on Thursdays, one can see posters being pasted on streets.  Deepavali would be a bonanza for movie goers – a dozen films or more were released including – Viswaroopam (Sivaji); Varumaiyin niram sivappu (Kamal / Balachander); Polladhavan (Rajni); Nizhalgal (Barathiraja).  My knowledge of cinema was slightly above zero and hence was a passive spectator in those arguments !  

.. .. .. we are still living in the pandemic fear – the lockdown restrictions have been extended for another month !!  ,.   .. at this juncture, would someone venture going to a movie hall ? – and is it required ?????

Wonder Woman 1984 (stylized as WW84) is a 2020 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character Wonder Woman. It is the sequel to 2017's Wonder Woman and the ninth installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). The film is directed by Patty Jenkins from a script she wrote with Geoff Johns and Dave Callaham, based on a story by Johns and Jenkins. Gal Gadot stars as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman, alongside Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, and Connie Nielsen. Set in 1984 during the Cold War, the film follows Diana and her past love Steve Trevor as they face off against Max Lord and Cheetah.  Wonder Woman 1984 premiered on December 15, 2020, via the DC FanDome virtual platform. It was theatrically released in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures on December 25, 2020, and also made available to be streamed digitally on HBO Max for a month before it will go to premium video on demand.  

The news is - Hollywood has been urged to halt movie production to help contain the outbreak of Covid-19 in California as more than 7,000 people - a record number - are hospitalized with the disease in Los Angeles.  In an email sent on December 24, circulated by FilmLA - the county's non-profit film office - the health department encouraged industry contacts to pause work. 'Although music, TV and film productions are allowed to operate, we ask you to strongly consider pausing work for a few weeks during this catastrophic surge in COVID cases,' the email said. It advised that filmmakers 'identify and delay higher risk activities, and focus on lower-risk work for now, if at all possible.'


FilmLA were also asked to remind filmmakers that they are advised against travelling for production purposes during the crisis. While travel is allowed within California, it increases the likelihood of people being inside a vehicle together or being in other enclosed indoor settings. The email stressed the importance of the new precautions with Los Angeles hospitals nearing capacity, but added that there is a 'light at the end of the tunnel' in the form of two approved vaccines being administered. Earlier in December, shooting on a remake of the 1999 romantic comedy 'She's All That' shut down LA's Union Station - one of the city's major coronavirus testing sites - according to The Hill. FilmLA claimed that when it issued the permit for the filming to be done at the station, it had not realised it was being used as a testing site.  Many blockbuster movies have been delayed in 2020 due to the pandemic, including the up-coming James Bond movie 'No Time to Die', Denis Villeneuve's 'Dune' and Guillermo del Toro's 'Antlers'.  Some movies, such as 'Wonder Woman 1984', have been released during the pandemic, but have found success on streaming platforms while cinemas in many countries around the world remain closed.

The email comes after the The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) said that 'most' productions would be on-hold until the third week of January, if not later. 'Most entertainment productions will remain on hiatus until the second or third week of January if not later,' a statement from the labor group said on Tuesday. 'This means that the number of our member performers working on sets right now is reduced. Our safety protocols ensure appropriate precautions for the holiday hiatus period including additional time for testing prior to the resumption of production.' The statement followed the news that the regional stay at home order in California was extended as coronavirus cases continue to spike.

Regions were previously set to be freed from the December restrictions on December 28, but with the extension, they will now remain in place for the foreseeable future. California has become the epicenter of the pandemic over the past few weeks with more than 24,000 virus-related deaths.  Los Angeles has seen nearly 100,000 new cases in the last week alone, according to the data from Johns Hopkins University. Last week, the death tolls hit record highs on consecutive days.  'A person now dies every 10 minutes in L.A. County from COVID-19,' L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said of the rate of deaths in the area. 

In Tamil Nadu (specifically Chennai) – life perhaps has returned to normalcy – crowds are seen everywhere, in malls, shops, hotels and elsewhere as many are throwing caution to winds .. .. not many are wearing masks !!

The tinseldom has opened up and there was mass hysteria in Rajanikanth floating a new political party.  B u t -  it turned out to be different as the Superstar’s health concerns have pushed him to taking rest.  Recently, the shooting of  Rajinikanth's Annaatthe had to be  halted due to multiple COVID-19 cases on the film set.  Some media reports stated that around four of the technical crew tested positive for the coronavirus, and as a precaution, the shoot was suspended temporarily.  

Every Actor big or small perhaps nurses political ambition – and more than that are keen that their films do well, they mint money irrespective of the grim situation prevalent.  Recently there was news of an Actor meeting  Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Mr Edapadi K Palanisamy at his residence in Chennai, allegedly requesting the CM to help with the release of his upcoming film, Master.  Perhaps the movie is slated to be released during Pongal and those involved want to ensure that film becomes a big hit,  thereby grossing huge revenues.  Currently, movie theatres are allowed to be operated only with 50 per cent sitting capacity in Tamil Nadu. This might cause a dent in the box office collection  and hence they are appealing that theatres are allowed to operate in full capacity !!  

Rain or shine, summer or winter .. .. films must get released – fans must come to the theatres, ensure revenue flow – shout at the top of their voice for their fav actor – and amidst the din, the voice that reverberated that economy was in doldrums caused by Corona, common man is finding difficult for his daily meal et al would be lost !!

Sad !!!!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar



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