3rd wave: Bengal TV industry struggles to air episodes
Times of India | 13 January 2022
KOLKATA: The third wave has posed a greater challenge to Bengal’s television industry. With infection rates among artists and technicians much higher than what it was earlier, the industry is fighting tooth and nail to shoot, edit and deliver episodes to channels on time for uninterrupted telecast.
Scripts are getting changed at the last-moment when artists are getting infected and writers are working under huge pressure to ensure that the show goes on. Koneenica Banerjee, who plays the lead in ‘Aay Tobe Sohochori’, is having regular “panic attacks” worrying if she is unknowingly carrying the infection home. “Two of my co-actors — Indranil Chatterjee and Arunima Halder — had tested positively and were out of shoot for a week. Indrajit Chakraborty, Kuyasha Biswas and I had to step in and shoot all the episodes. Now, I hear Indrajit’s daughter is unwell,” she said.
What’s worrying her more is the safety of her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Kiah. “During the last wave that was in spring, I would return home, take a shower, shampoo my hair and then hug my daughter. I can’t even do that now in winter for fear of catching a cold at night. Shooting daily is important for freelancers but the tension is unbearable,” she added.
Actors Shreyasee Samanta, who plays Malobika Sen Sharma, and Prantik Banerjee, who plays Soumen Shoor, in ‘Mon Phagun’ have both fallen ill. “We had to circumvent that creatively so that the telecast continues uninterrupted and ensure that their absence does not affect the ongoing storyline.
One has to tweak the storyline or shoot in such a way that the absence of these actors in the scenes are not felt,” said Sani Ghosh Ray from Acropoliis Entertainment thatproduces this serial. Leena Gangopadhyay, script writer, co-producer and creative director of Magic Moments that is producing four serials, was sent a message by a unit member about a lead actor being infected late on Sunday night. On Monday morning, she had to rewrite the scene that was planned for the day. For ‘Khorkuto’, she had to abandon plans of a rice ceremony since multiple actors are down now. “Chandan Sen and Koushik Roy are infected. Anushree Das has fever. Ratna Ghoshal has just recovered while Dulal Lahiri is recovering from a surgery,” Gangopadhyay said. Since a ceremony in a joint family without the main actors will look odd, Gangopadhyay had to bring in another track.
The situation is equally difficult for ‘Dhulokona’ where lead actor Indrasish Roy has tested positive just before he was to shoot a reality show in the serial. “Badshah Moitra and ShankarChakraborty are down with Covid. Because of her age, I don’t want to write many scenes with Sabudi (Sabitri Chatterjee),”Gangopadhyay said.