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14 April 2024

Bollywood producers and workers at war now!

Photo: Sanskriti Media

By Sanskriti Media

There are two sets at Mumbai’s Film City – the Alia Bhatt starrer Gangubai Kathiawadi and one unit of choreographer turned director Bosco Martis who is making a film. There are other shoots planned around the country as well now, while small units have already started shooting outside Mumbai. But then the big guns haven’t been able lock in on insurance and other details for the daily wage workers and other unit hands as yet.

Big films like Thalaivi, Maidaan, Bhool Bhulaiyya 2 are all pending completion among a host of around 15-20 top films in Bollywood including Brahmastra, Mumbai Saga, Prithviraj among others.                                                                                                                                             

The FWICE says that they cannot let workers shoot in such circumstances. “We have been saying some nice things, but it is time to face the hard reality. We have been talking to the producers and they need to provide insurance to the workers if they have to return to the shoot. Also the guidelines are still not clear. There needs to be someone to monitor is these things are being done and all safety precautions along with insurance etc have to be done. If the shoots have to start, the producers need to be ready to shell out all these things,” says BN Tiwari, President of the Federation Of Western Indian Cine Employees (FWICE).

As for the actors everyone is getting their COVID negative reports ready too. Amit Behl, the Senior Joint Secretary of the Cine and Television Artistes Association (CINTAA) says that he himself is getting his report done. “We have also been busy attending to many calls from people who have doubts on how they are going to be covered. They want their safety as well. I have to also go to my doctor to get my medical done so I can start working too,” says the actor.

TP Aggarwal, Former President, Film Federation of India and President, Indian Motion Picture Producers' Association (IMPPA) however feels that normalcy in shoots may not return soon. "The Federation claims they have 5 lakh members. They don't even have 50000. According to Competition Commissioner of India, the Federation cannot stop or force producers to take their members. Even then, they force the producers and trouble them. This insurance is not the producer's job. How can any producer put a doctor and an ambulance on call on the sets when there is shortage of doctors and ambulances in the city! Then they want the shoot workers and technicians to be kept in a separate hotel where no one else is there, which is not possible. In case of Corona detection, they want treatment at private hospitals. At this point, no one will admit and if they do, the cost will be very high. I don't see us shooting under these non-co-operative conditions anytime soon. But if any producer wishes to shoot under these circumstances, he is more than welcome. We have no objection to the same."