Coastalwood stars Arjun Kapikad, Roopesh Shetty on how COVID-19 impacted Tulu film industry

03:40 PM Jun 25, 2020 | Team Udayavani |
Mangaluru: While the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the Indian film industry at large is still being evaluated, we take a look at how the Tulu film industry has suffered during the pandemic. The high-powered entertainment industry has been shut completely since March second week following rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. Multiplexes, theatres were one of the first outlets to shut in India along with other public places. The film projects that were on production have been halted as uncertainty still looms over the release dates of these films due to the lockdown. Many film houses and producers are struggling to make payments to employees and workers as there is no revenue or return of investment due to the shutdown. Coastalwood, Karnataka's Tulu film Industry which releases 5 to 7 films every year too has been suffering due to this pandemic as it has impacted the filmmakers, producers, and artists. Arjun Kapikad, a well-known actor from the Coastalwood speaking to Udayavani said, "The lockdown has definitely affected Coastalwood and its artists. Ours is a small industry and even before the lockdown we were having a hard time to find theaters to release our films, however, post lockdown this problem will definitely worsen and with the current situation even if we release good movies in the theatres post lockdown people will be scared to come out watch a movie due to the infection fear." Speaking about the artists of the industry, he said, "Most of the artists were dependent on the industry, and because of lockdown many are facing a hard time as the industry has come to standstill. However, we are planning to prepare content for the small screens, and scripting for the same is under process. As of now, small screens are the best option for us to reach people, and this way it will also help the artists financially," he said. "The present generation is more into the OTT platform and we are definitely very good content creators, but our industry is limited as we focus more on comedy content and it will be a bit difficult for us to release our content in an OTT platform. None the less, a group of people has designed an app exclusively from Tulu language content to meet the needs of our people," informed Arjun. Speaking about Coastalwood, Rocking star Roopesh said, "Many films which were ready to be released in March, April and May has been blocked due to lockdown and no one has any idea when will they get permission to release these films and even if they do get permission will there be enough number of audience to watch the movie because only if there are enough number of audience we can produce more films, if not there will be a problem in finding investors. All these problems are interlinked with each other and have affected the film industry a lot." "The artists and technicians in the industry are waiting to resume shooting which was stalled due to the lockdown and so far, there is no clarity on any of these issues. Due to this they are worried and are eagerly waiting for things to get back to normal," expressed Roopesh. Further speaking about the current situation of the Tulu industry he said, "After Girit ran successfully and was released in over 15 countries we were all extremely happy and thought that the Tulu industry is doing well, but with this pandemic, we have gone two steps backward. However, we have hope that after all of this ends we will be stronger." "My three movies in which I have acted, including a Kannada movie called Govinda Govinda, is ready to be released but we haven't thought of a release date for the movie as there are many hurdles. In the meantime I and my team have been focusing more on scripting and planning how to give different content to the audience," said Roopesh, speaking about his upcoming movies. When asked if Tulu movies can be released in OTT platform he said, "We had tried to release Tulu film Girgit on OTT platform but we couldn't as Amazon and Netflix have not yet developed a Tulu movie category maybe in coming days we can make it to such platform, however, there's an OTT platform for Tulu content but we cannot expect more revenue from it." The Unlock 1.0 guidelines from the govt of India have allowed resumption of shooting an important first step towards a return to work.

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