The Hindi film industry came together to protect its most vulnerable after the coronavirus outbreak.
Coronavirus brings India's mega movie industry to standstill.
With the world at a standstill because of Covid-19, India's Hindi film industry is seeing abandoned film sets, closed cinemas and movie stars with empty diaries.
“Bollywood” conjures images of ubiquitous stars, but every movie produced in Mumbai is made possible by an army of men and women toiling in the shadows: the extras, the carpenters and caterers, the tailors bent over sewing machines creating glittering costumes, the men putting up movie billboards, the men sitting in the ticket window at the local theater.
India has been under a strict lockdown since March 25 to fight the coronavirus outbreak. The complex machinery of Bollywood has come to a halt, affecting about a million people — according to the Producers Guild of India — who are directly or indirectly employed by the movie industry. Many are without work and wages. The worst hit are about 35,000 daily wage workers.
A March report by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Ernst & Young estimates that 1,833 movies were released in India in 2019. India makes movies in as many as 28 languages. More than 200 of them are produced by the Hindi film industry in Mumbai, which is popularly known as Bollywood.
Movie studios, production offices, editing and sound suites, and stars’ homes are mostly in north Mumbai. The more palatial homes are traffic landmarks. Ask someone for directions and you could easily hear the reply, “Take a U-turn at Shah Rukh Khan’s house.” Every Sunday for years, crowds have gathered in front of the actor Amitabh Bachchan’s house for a sighting. The 77-year-old actor, surrounded by security guards, dutifully steps out and waves to his admirers. The coronavirus outbreak has put an end to the ritual.