The film industry has come to a standstill with the lockdown to contain COVID-19. Yet there is one image that has gone viral in the past few days — Real Star Upendra’s look from his latest film, Kabza. The actor’s picture as a don has been garnering enough likes and feedback on social media. We called the actor to find out what he is up to. He obliged with a peek into his lockdown schedule and more. Excerpts.
Tell us about Kabza
We are just done with 25% of the film’s shoot. As we plan on making the film in six languages, it involves a lot of work and take a lot of time. Now everything has stopped and we are all out of action for a while.
How has the lockdown affected the cinema industry?
The entertainment industry is affected just like every industry. I feel the film world is affected more as it does not come in the essential category. Entertainment comes in only if everything else is fine. The making and watching of a film calls for mass gatherings. It will take time to get back to normalcy. ‘
Even after the lockdown is lifted, people might be hesitant to venture out…
Definitely, the fear aspect will take time to go. The film industry and restaurants may take a lot of time to recover and this will affect our economy too.
How are you coping with the lockdown?
I am staying at home with family. We have a farm, I got involved in farming. We grow vegetables, grain and fruit. It keeps me busy for a while. Besides this, I haven’t been doing much.
How are the industry technicians and daily wage workers managing?
They are in a bad state. But every one is doing their bit to help them. This is a critical time for all of us.
As a parent, what are you doing to help your children get through this time?
They have been assigned household chores such as cleaning and doing dishes. My daughter (Aishwarya) has started online schooling, while the younger one (Ayush) plays video games in his free time. It is hard for children to be home bound 24/7.
What do you feel about the various online platforms now thriving as entertainment options?
I believe technology will take over most fields in the future — schooling, business, entertainment, medicine and so on. Maybe people will gather only if there is a dire need. That is what I feel the future will be like. This is just my belief. The only positive thing is that this kind of lifestyle will be more economical, but job opportunities may come down drastically. Only time will tell how we will bounce back and what we will do as humans after this COVID-19 effect. That will determine the future.
Are you planning on going online too?
No, not yet, I am still working on a few scripts.
What message do you give people about the lockdown? Not everyone seems to be staying indoors…
Yes, people get confused when they see others gathering around to buy groceries or politicians meeting for some reason or the other. Then people think when they can do it why cant we. They also don’t understand the seriousness when they see others venturing out.
The need is to take precautions seriously and stay indoors. The more we stay inside the sooner the lockdown will be lifted. The more we venture out, the more it be prolonged.
Each one should take responsibility for his /her action and safely.
What do you feel about COVID-19?
One thing I want to say is that the mindset has to be strong. Diseases are like uninvited guests. Treat it well and it will stay longer. Change your mindset, be strong mentally and emotionally and resist this and it has to leave. We should not give this virus too much importance. Each one has to learn to be brave and fight back with all our strength. So please don’t panic. COVID-19 is just a virus. All we need is to be smart, practise social distancing and we can beat this together.