'Video Calls to the Rescue': How Popular TV Shows Tweak Plots to Counter Covid Threat

·4-min read

Recently, lead pairs of TV’s two most popular fiction shows–Anupamaa and Ghum Hain Kisikey Pyaar Meiin– tested positive for coronavirus. They were sent into quarantine. But the makers were quick to adapt to new circumstances. With slight modifications, the shows continued to air and the re-entry of the recovered was seamlessly integrated.

As the virus cases continue to soar, TV industry has shown resilience. Unlike most movie sets, the crew on a TV set is back in action in a time bound manner. This goes on to show that the makers are in a prepared state when it comes to the virus insurgence on their units.

Quarantined shoots for actors

Anupamaa's lead pair Rupali Ganguly and Sudhanshu Pandey tested positive for coronavirus. They went into isolation and the rest of the team continued to shoot. Both Sudhanshu and Rupali shot a couple of scenes from their homes which were inserted as ‘video call’ cuts in various places. To further justify their absence from the show for some episodes, Anupamaa (Rupali) tells her mother-in-law that she and Vanraj (Sudhanshu) are forced to take up lodgings at a resort due to ‘curfew guidelines’.

In another instance, when Neil Bhatt and Aishwarya Sharma of Ghum Hain Kisikey Pyaar Meiin tested positive for coronavirus, minor storyline change was incorporated and fans were informed that officer Virat (Neil) has been called for his training and he had to leave immediately. After a few days of quarantine, Neil shot from his home and this was inserted as a video call. Here, he informs Sai (Ayesha Singh) that he is coming back home soon. Thus, viewers didn't doubt Virat’s suspicious disappearance from the show and were also apprised of his re-entry.

Indian Idol 12 contestant Pawandeep Rajan recorded an online performance after he tested positive for coronavirus. Judges were informed about Pawandeep’s mandatory quarantine period and they connected to him via video call. Pawandeep asked judges to let him perform from his room and they readily agreed.

Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain avoids shoots with certain artists

Actor Yogesh Tripathi, who plays Happu Singh in Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain, has not been appearing on the show for sometime now. His track with Anita Mishra (Nehha Pendse) has been put on hold because Yogesh also shoots for Happu Ki Ultan Paltan with another unit in a different location and makers want to avoid the Covid threat. When asked about his scenes with Nehha, the new Bhabiji, Yogesh told us, “I’ve not shot even a single scene with her. Due to coronavirus, I just am doing my show for now. But hopefully in the coming time, there will be some scenes of us together.”

Tweaks in storylines

When recurring talent Atmaram Bhide (Mandar Chandwadkar) of Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah tested positive, a scene showed Popatlal (Shyam Pathak) and Iyer (Tanuj Mahashabde) asking Jethalal (Dilip Joshi) for society maintenance cheque. Usually, this is Bhide’s job, who is society's secretary and Jethalal points out that this is not Popatlal or Iyer’s business. Iyer informs that Bhide has gone out of station. This way Bhide is not shown as part of the storyline for a few episodes till actor Mandar recovered.

Narayani Shastri tested positive for coronavirus recently leading to change in Aapki Nazaron Ne Samjha storyline. Saurabh Agarwal as Vipul Rawal is brought into the picture to represent the Rawal family as the marriages of Darsh (Vijayendra Kumeria) and Shobit (Abhishek Verma) are fixed. Considering ANNS plot revolves around Rajvee (Narayani) trying to get Darsh, her visually challenged son, married at any cost, her absence due to the sudden medical scare was strange before things finally fell in place. Viewers are informed that Rajvee has gone to a Rajkot ashram after her ‘mannat’ to see Darsh married has come true.

Talent replacement on reality shows

Recently, Jay Bhanushali replaced Aditya Narayan as host on Indian Idol 12 after the latter tested positive. However, Aditya’s signature style that lends a humourous tone to Idol was missing.

After Covid infected Dance Deewane 3 judge Dhamesh Yelande, Shakti Mohan and Punit Pathak have replaced him as judges for the time being.

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