Many mainstream news papers are not worried about what will happen to the future of humanity or the future of economy. They are worried about what will happen to Bollywood. Some have even calculated the loss to the industry to the last penny.
Of course they have a point. For many of my generation before the pre-TV days, Bollywood was a staple diet. I remember friends of my college days missing a meal to watch a movie with the money saved. It is a different story that those same friends would not miss a breakfast to buy a book. In the seventies or eighties when life was tougher movies provided the daily dose of amnesia.
But life was not so tough as in these C19 days. In today’s interrelated and interdependent world along with the moneyed who see a down ward spiral of their net worth, down goes the livelihood of the common men who are tied to the sector.
One of the concerns is of course the closure of Cinema Halls. I have a feeling that large gatherings may not happen till a vaccination or a definite cure is found for the Virus. Today with so many TV channels and steaming networks competing for better content, low budget movies should not have a problem. The problem comes only with the Big Brothers of Bollywood whose budget and egos are too huge to allow them to premier on a small screen. But they also can take inspiration from the drive in concert that happened in Denmark recently.
Of course it has to be customized to Indian conditions since 90% Indian movie goers may not have cars. So, this could be an opportunity for Ola and Uber who can station their cars there and earn money without having travelled an inch.
Further, you cannot have an open air theater like the above in India. It has to be fortified with walls of at least 100ft height to avoid overcrowding of unauthorized onlookers outside the car zone.
The real problem is perhaps the shooting. In this regard, at least for once Bollywood must stop looking for inspiration from Hollywood. Long before do gaj ki doori became a norm in Covid scared real life there was someone who made it his norm in reel life. I am sure the millennial will not be able to guess, because his real life son failed to carry on his legacy.
In his later years, on screen, Manoj Kumar made it a point to maintain do gaj ki doori from his heroines. But he had to somehow show that he was romantically connected with the heroine. So, a danda became a medium through which the emotions of love travelled to and fro.
But, of late the same Danda is used to show that no love is lost between the policeman and the indisciplined violator of lock down norms. It is not only in these Covid times, since time immemorial danda has been a symbol of fear, except perhaps for the brief interlude when Manoj Kumar made it a symbol of love.
For an unsporting country, ironically the other source of popular entertainment is Cricket. Coincidentally this too is a game of dandas – six rounded, two flattened and a ball. What if, like the Hunger Games, the matches were held only for TV telecast. Strictly no live audience in the stadium.
In a prolonged pandemic world, cricket could become the only game to be played, albeit without a live audience. The advantage of cricket is that unlike baseball, football, volleyball and many other ball-games, it can be played without the players coming close. Still then a fifth umpire should be used to see to it that the players maintained do gaz ki doori at all times and if players violated this they could be ordered to be quarantined for two matches or two seasons depending upon the bias of the umpire.
Then there should be a sixth umpire to see to it that no player spit on the ground. But going by the long standing habit of bowlers the toughest job will be that of the seventh umpire whose job it will be to see to it that no player licked the ball.