Swine Flu scare affects Indian film & entertainment industry

    MUMBAI: The looming swine flu scare in Indian cities of Mumbai and Pune has taken its toll not only on the public but also on the business of entertainment. With the H1N1 flu scare forcing people to stay indoors, not only did the multiplexes see a decline in the collections but also shootings that were supposed to take place in Pune had to be cancelled.
    Director Rensil D’Silva, who was all set to leave for Pune to shoot for two days for his upcoming film Kurbaan for Dharma Productions starring Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Vivek Oberoi, had to cancel the shoot. Speaking to Businessofcinema.com he said, "We were supposed to go to Pune for two days on Saturday and Sunday but due to the swine flu scare we had to cancel the shoot there. Luckily none of the crew members had left so we decided to cancel the Pune shoot on time. We are now looking for other options and should be taking a decision in the next six – seven days."
    Similarly, the cast and crew of Salman Khan starrer Veer were also supposed to shoot the film in Pune and were scheduled to leave yesterday (9 August). However, they too had to cancel the shoot last minute due to the scare. At present the crew is shooting at Mehboob studio. Line producer of Veer Sunil Sharma tells Businessofcinema.com, "We decided to call off the Pune schedule due to the tension there and now we are thinking of an alternative."
    Additionally, multiplexes too are under the scanner now as they might be shut down for upto three days due to the scare. With the 15 August weekend coming up and films like Kaminey and Life Partner that are scheduled to release on the long weekend, business at the multiplexes will be affected if they are shut down for more than three days.
    However speaking about the present situation Inox Leisure CEO  Alok Tandon said, "We have not shut down our multiplex in Pune as yet as we have not received any official communication from the authorities. However, we respect their decision and will do all we can to support the government in its attempt to control the spread of the H1N1 virus."
    "At Inox we are extremely conscious of our responsibility towards the safety of our patrons and preventing the spread of the H1NI virus. It would be most inappropriate for us to comment on potential losses as public health comes first and we must all be supportive of attempts to safeguard it," Tandon adds.
    Besides multiplexes being shut, animation festival – Anifest India, which was scheduled for the Independence Day weekend, has now been postponed until further notice. Anifest India had received 1500+ confirmed registrations and a large number of people were to travel from out of Mumbai for this festival.
    The organizers, The Animation Society of India (TASI) Managing Committee said in a statement, "Due to the increased risk of swine flu, TASI has taken the difficult but important decision to postpone Anifest India 2009. It is a very disappointing thing for us but we have no choice under the current circumstances."