Bollywood filmmakers have scrambled to get their hands on film titles related to the coronavirus pandemic, as India takes preventative measures to slow the pandemic’s spread.
While the world has come to a standstill due to the deadly coronavirus pandemic, countless Bollywood filmmakers and producers are rushing to get ‘corona’ registered for their forthcoming projects.
One enviable title that has emerged out is Corona Pyaar Hai, obviously reminiscent of Hrithik Roshan‘s superhit debut movie from 2000.
Quoting a Krishika Lulla of Eros International, the report said: “Currently the scripting is going on. The subject (of the epidemic) is going to be set in a love story. Currently, we are fine tuning the script and are waiting for things to subside, as things have come to a standstill now. Once everything is normal, we will start the project in full swing.”
A source in Indian Film and Television Producer Council has informed the publication that Eros International had registered Corona Pyaar Hai as a their film sometime last week.
The report said that another film organisation, Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association, too, had confirmed that many filmmakers had registered film names with ‘corona’ in them. A source said, “We have already registered one called Deadly Corona.”
However, in the days leading up to the shutdown, the IMPPA offices saw a flurry of activity, with production houses and filmmakers rushing to register movie titles that referenced the coronavirus in some way — all in the hopes that it would pique the audience’s interest enough to bring them flocking to the theatre when things are back to normal.
An IMPPA source said on condition of anonymity that several had already been registered and they had received inquiries about at least a half-dozen more, and the number would likely go up once work resumes.
In the wake of the outbreak of coronavirus, the Indian film industry has taken a major hit. Films such as Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi and Parineeti Chopra’s Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar have been postponed indefinitely.
Angrezi Medium, which released during the coronavirus spread, has been badly hit by it. It registered low numbers at the box office despite boasting of a stellar cast including Irrfan, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Dimple Kapadia. Shoots of a number of films were pushed owing to the pandemic — Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt’s Brahmastra’s Mumbai shoot was cancelled, Shahid Kapoor’s Jersey and Kartik Aayan, Kiara Advani starrer Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, too, saw their respective shoots getting postponed.
If that seems — at least somewhat — like emotionally exploitative behaviour, this wouldn’t be the first time Bollywood has been accused of it. Just last year, after the abrogation of Article 370 stripped the state of Jammu and Kashmir of the autonomy to frame its own laws, film associations reported requests for registration of titles such as Article 370, Article 370 Abolished, Kashmir Mein Tiranga, Kashmir Hamara Hai and more.
Earlier that year, the Pulwama terror attacks saw the same pattern, with producers clamouring to register names with Pulwama, Balakot, ‘attack’ and ‘surgical strike’ in them. The most widely criticised case was in 2008, when mere days after the deadly Mumbai terrorist attacks that killed almost 200 people, the then-Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was photographed visiting one of the hostage sites — The ravaged Taj hotel — with filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma and his actor son Riteish Deshmukh, sparking rumours the duo were researching an upcoming film on the subject.
With the tremendous success of films like 2019 hit Uri: The Surgical Strike, based on the 2016 attacks on the Indian Army’s headquarters in Uri, it’s unlikely that Bollywood will abandon this “formula” any time soon.