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Indian TV Star Shubhangi Atre Reveals How Film Industry is Overcoming COVID Pandemic

The actress opens up about catching the virus herself, staying positive, and helping others during the world stopping pandemic.

During the second wave of COVID-19 in April, actress Shubhangi Atre’s life came to a halt when her entire family tested positive for coronavirus.

The second lockdown was then imposed in Mumbai, grinding the entire Hindi entertainment industry to a standstill, leaving many actors and crew members jobless.

Shubhangi tells Sputnik how she battled on despite the double setback – and is continuing to deliver entertainment with her popular television show “Bhabhiji Ghar Pe Hai.”

Sputnik: You and your entire family recently tested positive for COVID-19. How did deal with this?

Shubhangi: I was the carrier of the virus and when I started having symptoms, my brother-in-law, who is a doctor, made me and my husband and daughter start the COVID medication and do yoga from day one. We didn’t wait for the RTPCR test reports. There was a lot of fear and I was overcoming the loss of my 32 and 33-year-old cousins who died due to COVID. I think what’s important is to have mental strength and live a healthy lifestyle. Some people still take all this lightly but if we still don’t learn from the second wave, this virus will continue to create havoc.

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Sputnik: Due to lockdown in Mumbai, several TV shows including your “Bhabhiji Ghar Pe Hai” moved filming to another state in India. Do you think this risk was worth taking, especially in times like these when people don’t want to leave their families or be exposed to an increased risk of infection by travelling?

Shubhangi: This wasn’t easy for all of us to shoot outdoors away from our familes. But we all have to think about our survival not just from this viral but economic crisis too. We are grateful that the TV industry is somewhere still running amid safety protocols unlike films and OTT shows.

People are scared of a COVID outbreak on set but we have to adapt to the new normal, follow all guidelines, and look for alternatives to keep working.

Sputnik: How did your team manage to shift all filming to Surat city in Gujarat?

Shubhangi: When the lockdown was announced, we already had a bank of at least two months of episodes. This gave us some time to shift the shooting location to Surat city at a hotel where we blocked the entire floor and have been shooting amid safety protocols after the entire crew tested negative for COVID-19.

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Sputnik: What is the biggest challenge you and many other actors have faced during the pandemic?

Shubhangi: To keep myself positive and happy in times like these and not let anxiety affect my work. For actors, our appearance on screen and how well we are performing in front of the camera matter the most. Especially, while filming comedy shows, we can’t make people laugh if we ourselves are not in a happy and positive state of mind. Like many others, I also got anxiety but I have been making a conscious effort to not let it reflect on my work and keeping myself motivated all the time.

Sputnik: How has the pandemic changed India’s television entertainment scene?

Shubhangi: There have been many actors who are jobless for over a year and have left Mumbai and returned home to their family. But it is the crew members who have been badly hit by the lockdown as they struggle to make their ends meet and survive on savings.

In our unit, there used to be 80-100 crew members which have now come down to 30-35. Around 70 percent of the crew are forced to sit at home with no earnings.

All actors are doing their bit by helping them financially during these tough times.

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