The tough lockdown measures imposed by the Uddhav Thackeray led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra has sounded the death knell for lakhs of daily wage workers who work in the ‘industry’ quietly behind the scenes, unlike the high profile Bollywood stars who are currently nonchalantly holidaying in Maldives or Goa.
The coronavirus guidelines for the state-issued on April 14 remarked that the shooting for films, serials and advertisement will remain closed till April 30. While the lockdowns of the last year had already caused enough misery to the working class of the industry, the year 2021 has not brought any relief either. When the cases had plateaued and the industry re-opened, there was a belief that all will be well once again but the sudden surge of the second wave has cast a pall of gloom everywhere.
“Almost 75 per cent labourers are trying to leave for their homes because they are of course not getting work. It looks like even May will go under lockdown. We are in deep crisis,” Rakesh Maurya, president of Film Studio Setting and Allied Mazdoor Union told the Indian Express.
The actors and actresses masquerading as Social Justice Warriors (SJW), who have an opinion about everything under the sun, and are always up in arms against the Central government have seemingly not batted an eyelid for the precarious situation of the daily wage workers and junior artists of the industry.
No long paragraphs have been dedicated to them nor any financial help granted to them. It can be argued that the PR agencies might not have reminded them of the condition of the workers.
Bollywood inherently is an incredibly cruel place for the working class. They are not given proper rights, secure jobs or any other perks. And yet, some believe that Bollywood is one big happy family where everybody helps and uplifts each other.
At the peak of the Sushant Singh Rajput murder/suicide controversy last year, it was yesteryear actress and Samajwadi Party leader Jaya Bachchan who targeted Ravi Kishan and Kangana Ranaut for exposing the dark underbelly of the industry.
“It is the film industry that gave name and fame to many people. There is a continuous process to defame the industry for the things done by a handful,” Jaya Bachchan had said. Notably, Kangana had called the film industry a “gutter”.
“Just because there are some people, you can’t tarnish the image of the entire industry. I am ashamed that yesterday one of our members in Lok Sabha, who is from the film industry, spoke against it. It is a shame,” the yesteryear Bollywood actress said.
Just because there are some people, you can't tarnish the image of the entire industry. I am ashamed that yesterday one of our members in Lok Sabha, who is from the film industry, spoke against it. It is a shame: Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan in Rajya Sabha https://t.co/cSvxi5dioc
— ANI (@ANI) September 15, 2020
The fact that the industry can get together and come as a whole to support a director like Anurag Kashyap who has been marred in several controversies ranging from allegations of sexual harassment to financial discrepancies etc. – but will keep mum on the condition of workers speaks volumes about the priorities of the ‘stars’.
Recently, the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), a statutory body under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting was scrapped by the Modi government. Naturally, the liberals and the pseudo-intellectuals of the industry came out in numbers and targeted the government for the move and called it unconstitutional.
Do the high courts have a lot of time to address film certification grievances? How many film producers will have the means to approach the courts? The FCAT discontinuation feels arbitrary and is definitely restrictive. Why this unfortunate timing? Why take this decision at all?
— Hansal Mehta (@mehtahansal) April 7, 2021
Such a sad day for cinema
FILM CERTIFICATION APPELLATE TRIBUNAL ABOLISHED | 6 April, 2021
— Vishal Bhardwaj (@VishalBhardwaj) April 6, 2021
However, the truth is that FCAT had become a place for unemployed film critics and failed but ideologically loaded filmmakers. Every year, the Government of India used to spent crores of rupees on this appellate body which only pushed the agenda of its members.
While a load of clamour was caused on the abolishment of the FCAT, not a single syllable has been uttered by the supposed giants of the industry for the workers who have been left to fend for themselves. The disposable treatment meted to their own ilk is one of the reasons why Bollywood as an industry is loathed by outsiders and layman alike.
Bollywood has thus become a deep, dingy cesspool of negativity, selfishness and spitefulness where the workers and small-time artists have no respect and can be cut off immediately, as the losses start to mount.