If life is a piece of drama, then truly these corona years will remain important acts. The ups and downs, the many lives that have been snuffed out and the many that chose to end it in despair, ever since the Wuhan virus came into being, no one dare say that life has continued unaffected.
While the showbiz industry also has been negatively impacted, it carried on. There were the initial dark days of March 2020 when everything came to a grinding halt. The thousands of daily technicians, junior artists, makeup professionals and struggling performers had no daily income either to fall back on.
Vo! reached out to a few creative professionals including stand-up comedians, actors, directors and theatre owners from Gujarat to know their situation during the pandemic – their responses came as a surprise.
Om Bhatt needs no introduction. “Covid’s dark side is dominating. That does not mean, it is devoid of a bright aspect. We have realised the value of life, making healthy eating choices, living in a clean and sanitized way and above all, for some, the lockdown was a way to spend quality family time which was just ruled out earlier. In the end, work is being done,” shares the name behind popular acts such as Gujjus and Puberty.
He elaborates that the pandemic has also taught businesses how to cut “unnecessary costs.” Taking a leaf out of his own experience, he says: “In-person shows were a challenge. The cost of production was higher than the revenue generated. Zoom calls have been a boon except on days when the connection lags. Of course, there for a performing artiste, no joy equals the applause and I miss the full house and stage.”
For Amdavadi theatre owner Prashant Jadav, the ride has been rough. “We shut down Rangam Theater during 2020. It was difficult and my heart went out to the aspiring actors who were left with nothing at all. Once the unlock began, it took a while to break even…what keeps us going is the love we receive,” says Prashant. He is also the go-to for coaching to participate in the Indian National Theatre Workshop.
A newbie in the circuit, but Kabir Thakor’s “Scrapyard” has emerged an important rung in the showbiz climb. “Stage shows in the state were on a backfoot even before the pandemic. We used the time during the first lockdown to reinvent theatre as a performing art. We are trying to it more relevant so that people come back to the shows,” he puts in, adding that the pandemic has also stressed the need for leisure and entertainment activities.
For actor-director Karan Joshi, the pandemic did not bring about a lull in his rising graph. “My income has not really been affected. “ He further said he was supposed to join a job as an actor for a project however, his love towards acting and film-making has kept his finances in check.