With lockdown extended, Nepal Idol, Himalaya Roadies and other Nepali serials have no new showsSome series—like Nepal Idol and Himalaya Roadies—will face serious delays because, just like the rest of the country, the production teams are staying home.
Arjun Ghimire spent most of his days on the set of his famous show Sakkigoni in Panchkhal, Kavre. Ghimire acts in and directs the comedy show, which airs every Thursday on Nepal Television, so his days were planned according to the show.
But with the lockdown in place to stem the spread of Covid-19, Ghimire is now in Kathmandu and has been spending his days in his house practising social distancing, just like everyone else. The production of his show has come to a halt.
“Times are tough. But this is something we have to do,” says Ghimire. “I hope this settles down quickly so we can carry on with our lives as soon as possible.” Ghimire’s show isn’t the only show that has stopped production for the time being. Shooting for most shows has been cancelled and those due to air on television have been suspended.
“We don’t have any new episodes, which is why we’ve been airing shows that had done well previously. We’ve been utilising this time to work on scripts and will be shooting as soon as this lock down is over,” says Ghimire. “For now, we want to apologise to our fans for not having many shows as back up.”
Like Ghimire, director of Himalaya Roadies Aman Pratap Adhikari is confined to his home. Like most producers and directors, Adhikari is worried how the virus will affect his show, which is on its third season and airs on Himalaya TV. Even though most of the episodes have already been shot, Adhikari says the last three episodes are yet to be edited.
“Editing the show is a tedious process. It takes me and my team three weeks to edit one episode,” says Adhikari. “With all of my editors at home, the lockdown has affected us. As soon as the lockdown is over, we’ll be back to work and complete the remaining three episodes.”
While Adhikari’s show just needs editing, for the producer of Nepal Idol, the problem is bigger. The show still is yet to complete shooting.
“We were hopeful we could do it by not having an audience at the show, but even our team members, including judges and crew, made up more than 25 people. So we decided to suspend the show altogether until further notice,” says Suresh Poudel, director and producer of Nepal Idol.
Poudel says four episodes, including the grand finale, are left to be shot. But now the producers of the show are thinking of just shooting two more to wrap up the series quickly.
“It’s been thought of. But we can’t say for certain what will happen. Right now all our contestants are at their respective homes. Until this lockdown is over and the disease is under control, we can’t be certain regarding what will happen,” said Poudel.
Both Poudel and Adhikari don’t have much to worry about as they produce shows for television channels themselves. But for Ghimire, who has purchased air time, this lockdown is a worry.
But Kamal Mani Nepal, an actor on Sakkigoni, is taking this lockdown positively. While he says it has affected him financially, he likes the fact he gets to spend time with his family.
“I would always be busy shooting which is why I never had the time to spend time with my family. This virus has given me a chance to do that,” says Nepal. “That said, it does feel weird to not be working. I hope we can get back to shooting as soon as possible. Until then we must adhere to the government’s decision and stay home.”
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of May 30, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. Covid-19 had spread to 213 countries and infected more than 6,029,950 people with 366,802 deaths. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 173,491 with 4,980 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 64,028 confirmed cases with 1,317 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 1401 cases with six deaths.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.