Bollywood Blog: Siddharth Anand Kumar speaks in detail of the effects of the lockdown in the film industry

By | June 8, 2020

In times of Lockdown…

It started off all very casually in our office corridors when there was talk about a virus spreading some havoc in far off regions of the world. Some of us spoke about it with an air of dismissiveness: its too far away and it will boil over. What’s the worse that can happen: possibly go off chicken for a while!  Others seemed wary and cautious, rattling off news reports from the latest In-Shorts feed. A select few looked grim – a sense of an impending doom wrought in their eyes.

Bollywood Blog Siddharth Anand Kumar speaks in detail of the effects of the lockdown in the film industry

As it turned out, in the days to come, the grimace and the casual attitude coalesced into a condition of chaos and fear, into a global pandemonium that would go on to – and continue to – test the very basis of our living. Yes, the lockdown due to COVID19 is an extraordinary situation, and we are living through a defining moment in history.

And with this lockdown leapt acronyms and phrases that were bandied around with utmost ease in our everyday life. Social distancing, Stay-at- Home, Pandemic, R0 number and of course, WFH – Work From Home.  For us at Yoodlee, WFH appropriated itself to online meetings that ranged from team members to writers to directors and actors and what not. Meetings to assess what to do with existing projects and what lies ahead, meetings to take auditions and discuss new stories and narratives, meetings to find solace in each other’s lockdown anecdotes, and meetings to find some sort of method to this extraordinary situation we find ourselves in.

First things First

The most immediate task obviously was to take a stock of the projects we have in our pipeline. While there is a clutch of films ready for release, we are fortunate that we didn’t have shoots in progress during this time. We are using this time to ensure that the marketing strategies for the films ready for release are well chalked out and can be executed with precision as soon as things return to some state of normalcy. There are projects that were all set to go into production, but this imposed extra time has given us an opportunity to go through the screenplay again for these films, to do slight tweaks and changes if needed, to ensure we have an engaging story in our hands.

Study Audience Viewing Patterns

At Yoodlee, we closely monitor how audience viewing patterns change between theatre viewing and OTT platforms. With the major and obvious spike in OTT content viewing, Yoodlee is very much in front and centre of this trend. We are in conversation with OTT platforms for a slew of direct to digital films. Its interesting to see the plethora of genres and stories that the OTT viewership commands, and it’s a good time to be a content creator now

The Show Must Go On

While things remain uncertain in the entertainment industry, the show, as the ubiquitous cliché goes, must go on. We are taking this chance to hold online auditions for our forthcoming projects. We have had entries from the smallest of cities, and the huge response to our online call for entries, undeterred by geographical boundaries, is extremely fulfilling. This is the best time to focus on good stories and quality writing – the very base of Yoodlee Films. When one has a team of enthusiastic well-read young film buffs, regularly discussing different ideas, plot points, narrative structures, to pave the path for the future of the brand, its an immensely satisfying feeling.