A tweet started it, other filmmakers picked it up
Geetanjali Minhas | March 19, 2020 | Mumbai
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.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has launched three state-of-the-art human DNA units under the Nirbhaya Scheme for efficiency in criminal investigations. A wildlife DNA unit in Nagpur makes Maharashtra the country’s first state to have a forensic testing lab for animals.
The Midway Battle: Modi’s Roller-coaster Second Term By Gautam Chintamani Bloomsbury / 400 pages / Rs 699 Gautam Chintamani, a film historian and author, has penned an in-depth chronicle of prime minister Narendra Modi’s second
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has instructed the Mumbai civic authorities to take immediate action on unauthorized constructions on war footing. In a virtual meeting held on Wednesday, Thackeray said no illegal construction will be tolerated in Mumbai and called upon the BMC to
After extending timings of shops and restaurants as well as the reopening of cinema halls and theatres under specified SOPs from October 22, in view of the festive cheer, the Maharashtra government has allowed restaurants and eateries to remain open till 12AM and shops and establishments to function till 1
Rubbishing the recently released Global Hunger Index 2021, wherein India has slipped to 101 position to be placed below Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, Arvind Panagariya, professor of economics at Columbia University and former vice chairman, NITI Aayog, has said that data collection and methodologies used
A long life span free from diseases and disability, the so-called healthy aging, has been a matter of prime interest to humanity. It is widely held that the life expectancy is a function of interplay between various genetic and environmental factors. There is scientific evidence to support the fact that on