COVID-19 lockdown: How Sudhir Mishra and others are helping film industry's daily wagers

A tweet started it, other filmmakers picked it up

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | March 19, 2020 | Mumbai


#Covid-19   #Novel Coronavirus   #healthcare   #Bollywood   #media   #entertainment   #Sudhir Mishra  


As various cine and TV organizations and bodies announced halt of shootings of films, TV serials, web series and all entertainment including digital formats in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, leading filmmakers Sudhir Mishra, Vikramaditya Motwane, Anubhav Sinha and Raj Menon have got together to help daily-wage workers who are part and parcel of the industry.

“Shoudn’t we in the film industry set up a fund for the junior technicians, our light boys, set workers, sound assistants etc,” Mishra had tweeted earlier this week. In no time, he found support from many in the industry including fellow directors Anubhav Sinha, Nikhil Advani, Vikramaditya Motwane, Anurag Kashyap and Sameer Nair, CEO, Applause Entertainment, among others with many in the industry wanting to chip in.       

A single film unit employs approximately 200 people. Apart from close to 200 films produced in Bollywood annually, there is an equally vibrant TV industry and a parallel robust digital entertainment platform employing thousands who work on per-day basis.       

“I have never seen this situation before. Nothing close to this has ever happened before,” Mishra told Governance Now. “People who are affected at the moment are daily-wage workers. All of us who are active filmmakers are either shooting, about to shoot or have earlier done production work. Therefore, we have worked with a unit. Now when everything is shut due to the Coronavirus we are asking the heads of departments (HOD’s) of various production units to help their workers. For example, the light boys are under the director of photography (DoP) department and set boys are under the production designers, etc. If each looks after their own, everybody will be helped,” he explained.

Mishra further clarified that the idea which has already translated into practice is not a proposal nor does it require setting up some special fund or seek permission from anyone for disbursal. As it is an individual’s personal money, they are free to give it to anyone they want to. “Whether I give it as an advance or balance or share profits of my own film or give my own money against the next film is my outlook and nobody can object. Anyone can help – producers, directors, actors, production houses, various industry bodies and others. I have told my unit; so have Anubhav Sinha, Nikhil Advani, Vikram Motwane, Raja Krishna Menon, Vishal Bhardawaj and many others. We will help anyone who needs help, irrespective of profits our projects have made.”
 
Talking about how daily wagers are integral part of industry and how they collectively work on projects, he said, “While the world may think of us as glamorous, there is a media myth. We are all workers and part of one family. People don’t know our relationship with our workers. The daily wage workers are all very skilled people. If the guy who pushes my trolley does not push the trolley, the shot does not happen. I work more closely with him than many stars. If the set worker does not paint my set or the carpenter does not make my set I cannot work on my film. If the sound boy does not place the boom properly my sound does not get recorded. No filmmaker can make a film without the light boy. We have writers, assistants, cameramen, DoP and others. But the press does not write about it.

“We don’t want our daily-wage workers to suffer as we cannot work without them. Along with my producers Bhavesh and Sejal Shah we took this decision over a phone call. In Anubhav’s case he didn’t even have to ask anyone and immediately took a decision. Ashok Pandit announced they are distributing rations,” Mishra added.

Giving the example of director Rohit Shetty, who says the filmmaker takes care of his team of 250 people every year, Mishra also added that such aid of the workforce is common at individual level in industry but needs to be done in a larger way during the present crisis. “I will not give my money to some fund when I don’t know where it is going. And doing this does not require committees, meetings, press conferences or photo ops,” Mishra said.

Comments

 

Other News

Why job quota in India’s ‘Silicon Valley’ will be self-defeating

Shooting oneself in the foot with a regressive step for short term political gains is how I would define the Karnataka government’s recent decision to reserve jobs in the private sector for the state’s people. As per Nasscom, the tech sector alone contributes to 25% of the state

Union Budget: New tax regime made more attractive

Several attractive benefits to provide tax relief to salaried individuals and pensioners opting for the new tax regime were announced by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the Union Budget 2024-25 in Parliament on Tuesday. She proposed to increase the standard deduction for

All you want to know about Union Budget, in one place

SUMMARY OF THE UNION BUDGET 2024-2025 Key points INDIA’S INFLATION CONTINUES TO BE LOW, STABLE AND MOVING TOWARDS THE 4 PER CENT TARGET PM’S PACKAGE OF 5 SCHEMES AND INITIATIVES WITH AN OUTLAY OF  ₹ 2 L

Union Budget: A quick summary

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2024-25 in Parliament on Tuesday. The highlights of the budget are as follows: Part-A Budget Estimates 2024-25:         T

India’s real GDP projected to grow 6.5–7% in 2024-25

India’s real GDP is projected to grow 6.5–7 per cent in 2024-25. The Indian economy recovered swiftly from the pandemic, with its real GDP in FY24 being 20 per cent higher than the pre-COVID, FY20 levels. This was stated in the Economic Survey 2023-24 presented in Parliament Monday by finance m

`Women welfare & empowerment budget tripled in 10 years`

As the Indian concept of welfare transforms into empowerment, India is transitioning from women’s development to women-led development, highlights the Economic Survey 2023-2024. Tabled in the Parliament on Monday by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the Economic Survey 2023-2024 fo

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Linkedin Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter