Young teleplay makers reel from COVID-19 damage

Tanzil Rahaman | Published: 23:26, May 20,2020


Mizanur Rahman Aryan, Mabrur Rashid Bannah and SA Haque Olike

Every year over 600 teleplays are produced to entertain Eid holidaymakers who enjoy those on the small screen and online platforms. However, shootings for small screen productions were suspended from March 22 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

With Eid-ul-Fitr less than a week away, young teleplay makers are at a loss for words as they helplessly witness Eid projects going under due to dramatically altered circumstances.

Teleplay maker Mizanur Rahman Aryan said, ‘Teleplay makers are facing a difficult situation. We are reeling from both financial and emotional losses due to COVID-19. Each year I make at least five teleplays marking the Eid. This year only two teleplays namely “Upahar” and “A Sweet Love Story” directed by me will be aired on TV channels.’

‘The pandemic is also impacting creative thinking of people. One cannot develop a good teleplay by staying at home for a long time. I have to go out and observe people and my surroundings in order to come up with a unique plot. As one cannot venture outside nowadays due to the pandemic, it is becoming difficult to develop good storylines,’ he added.

Aryan also pointed out that if the government stands beside the artistes and directors, then they can stay at home for as long as required.

Mabrur Rashid Bannah said, ‘Every year we wait for Eid so that we can produce our best productions. But this year coronavirus has ruined everything. The small screen industry has been delivered a crippling blow by the pandemic. All of our staff and crew members have lost their jobs and no one knows how long the crisis will continue.’

‘Each year I usually make between 12 and 15 teleplays but I could shoot only five teleplays, namely “Angels”, “I love You”, “View Baba”, “Propose” and “Bhalobashar Galpa”, before the general holiday began in March,’ he added.

SA Haque Olike, general secretary of the Directors’ Guild, said, ‘I make at least four teleplays every year for Eid but this year I have nothing to offer. I was looking forward to completing a drama series namely “Jaygir Master” for Eid but I could not finish its shooting due to the coronavirus outbreak.’

‘The shootings for small screen productions stopped on March 22 due to COVID-19. Since then those associated with teleplay making endured at least Tk 1.5 crore loss daily. I don’t know how we will overcome the financial loss or when the industry will bounce back. Each year over 600 teleplays are made for Eid but this year only the productions shot before March 22 will be aired along with old programmes by TV channels,’ Olike added.

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