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Bollywood braces for huge losses amid coronavirus lockdown

India's mammoth movie industry came to a grinding halt as the country closed businesses among measures aimed at slowing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The world's largest democracy went under the world's biggest lockdown on Wednesday with India's 1.3 billion people ordered to stay home in a bid to stop the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned that if he didn't act now, the virus could set the country back decades.

The country's financial capital Mumbai, home to the popular Hindi language cinema known as Bollywood was already in the midst of an unprecedented lockdown. More than 200 million of India's 1.3 billion people had been under lockdown since Monday, also including the metro areas of Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai.

Expensive, elaborate movie sets lie deserted and the filming of dozens of daily TV shows and web series are suspended.

One of Mumbai's largest integrated filming complexes and a regular venue for movie shoots, the usually buzzing Film City shut its doors and cancelled its popular Bollywood film tour.

With movie halls and shopping malls housing the city's multiplexes shut, Bollywood has had to put off all upcoming movie releases for the time being.

This includes big-ticket releases like popular actor Akshay Kumar's "Sooryavanshi" which was scheduled to be released on March 24.

The Federation of Western India Cine Employees which represents tens of thousands of spot boys, lighting assistants and technicians working in the movie industry says many of its members are facing an acute financial crunch.

The Indian film industry, one of the biggest in the world, makes about 1,500 films a year and is one of the country's largest employment generators.

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