Coronavirus in Bollywood: Who is Doing What While They Self-Isolate
In these times of enforced isolation what are Bollywood’s denizens up to? Subhash K Jha finds out
“Shooting of my next film with Rajkummar Rao has been pushed forward. It’s more important to stay safe in this situation. Luckily my whole family is here in one house. I’m staying home only and spending time with them and also utilizing this time to read all the pending scripts that I haven’t been able to read yet.”
“I came back from Budapest from shooting on 15 March and both (husband) Javed (Akhtar) and I have self-quarantined. We have been counseling whomever we can to maintain safe distance and wash hands with soap and water frequently. Office staff is working from their homes. Shooting schedules have been disrupted. Even table readings have been cancelled. With healthcare conditions in our country being what it is, we simply do not have the wherewithal to deal with the pandemic when it hits in full force i.e. Over a million infections. Not enough ventilators, ICUs , hospital beds etc so we have to try and flatten the curve. Today I participated in a board meeting of Chetna, an NGO I work with based in Ahmedabad for 2 hours on zoom on my cell phone. Trying to ‘Marie Kondo’ my house starting with my books although it’s really hard to part with them! But I really want to de-clutter and get rid of stuff I haven't used for 6 months whether it’s clothes bags or shoes. I don’t see the point of having a favourite sari or a favourite outfit if I can’t repeat it! I’m really glad Kate Middleton has been repeating her outfits and talking about sustainable fashion! Celebrities must set an example and repeat their clothes. .Both Javed and I have been reading, watching movies and resting. I’ve recovered well from my road accident in January. But I have to still get my strength back fully.”
“I am trying to find ways of remaining entertained and productive. I am painting, learning dance routines from YouTube and doing my workouts from home."
“Like in the rest of the country, Bollywood too has been affected. Shooting and dubbings have been stalled and forthcoming schedules have been postponed indefinitely. I’m using this time isolated at home to well firstly SLEEP. I’ve had a very sleep-deprived last few months and now I’m sleeping loads. I’m also trying to focus back on writing. I’ve been attempting to finish a script that I was trying to work for the last year but the acting work kept waylaying the writing work , so I’m getting back to that. Apart from that reading, catching up on phone conversations and FaceTiming with friends and family and EATING. My snacking is going out of control. I go for walks in my building garden sometimes.”
“The focus is on community health and to ensure that as a responsible citizen I adhere to basic rules laid down to help avert the spread of this pandemic. I'm spending this time with family in nearly complete isolation at my village. I am on regular calls with my edit teams, with my writers for the next two films, with my casting director and I am realizing that I am more productive this way when I am not shooting. We spend so much time traveling to meet people and then in the meetings. With technology it's all seamless and very focused. I love it. I'm catching up on a lot of reading and music. I'm also cooking every day and trying new things with limited, local ingredients. This terrible virus has put the world in jeopardy but it has brought about a welcome lifestyle change, ensured conservation of resources and induced a more healthy work culture. Hope we learn from this after it is all over.”
“Reading. Writing. Watching. Listening. Sleeping. Eating. Pondering. Looking out the window. Looking at myself. Looking at others. Yeah. Pretty busy.”