Mumbai: A strike that hit production in Bollywood was called off on Friday after unions and producers announced they had thrashed out a deal for better pay and working conditions at the world’s second biggest filmindustry.
“The strike is over,” said Dinesh Chaturvedi, the head of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees, after four hours of talks with three bodies representing producers.
The president of the Association of Motion Picture and TV Programme Producers, Ratan Jain, said, “The strike is over and tomorrow (Saturday) we will resume work.”
Back to business: The move will bring relief to TV production houses and broadcasters, including Jeetendra Kapoor of Balaji Telefilms. Abhijit Bhatlekar / Mint
The dramatic finale to the tumultuous three days will see television and film production employees return to sets, including director Milap Milan Zaveri’s Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai!, starring Ritesh Deshmukh, which was one of the several to stall this week. It will also bring relief to television production houses and broadcasters, including Balaji Telefilms Ltd, and TV channels such as 9X, which had exhausted their banks of unaired episodes, and were preparing to broadcast repeats if the strike continued.
More than 100,000 workers from actors and lighting technicians to camera operators and dancers in Bollywood’s Mumbai base had begun an indefinite “non-cooperation” strike on Wednesday against low wages, late pay and long hours. They had also complained of the use of non-union staff.
Dheeraj Kumar, vice-president of the Film and Television Producers Guild of India, who has been negotiating with the strikers, described the agreement with the unions as “mutually settled arrangement”.
“...And in this arrangement, there are certain points, which we have agreed,” he said, adding that the points agreed on by all parties include that only unionized workers would be hired, salary stipulations would be upheld, and the new agreement would take effect from now and not from an earlier date.”
Kumar said a committee would also be formed to ensure grievances were dealt with immediately and make sure that all sides stick to the arrangement.
The strike, the biggest of its kind in 50 years in Bollywood, is reminiscent of the recent Hollywood writers’ strike.
Revenues for the Hindi film industry, which produces about 1,000 films a year, are tipped to increase to $3.9 billion (Rs18,291 crore) by 2012, from $1.9 billion last year, according to consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
AFP contributed to this story.