2 min read.Updated: 08 May 2021, 11:02 AM ISTLata Jha
With all film and television-related production coming to a standstill, daily wage earners in the industry such as spot boys, painters, dancers, make-up artistes and junior artistes have been hit hard one again after the pandemic had devastated livelihoods last year
New Delhi: Bollywood production house Yash Raj Films has announced a relief scheme under the 'Yash Chopra Saathi Initiative,' named after the founder filmmaker, to help daily wagers employed on movie sets. This would include ration kits to families of four and Rs. 5000 to accounts of women, and senior citizens.
With all film and television-related production coming to a standstill, daily wage earners in the industry such as spot boys, painters, dancers, make-up artistes and junior artistes have been hit hard again after the pandemic had devastated livelihoods last year. Many of these workers are part of the migrant labour force that comes from India’s smallest towns in search of both skilled and unskilled jobs.
“The Yash Chopra Foundation is committed to being a support system to the Hindi film industry and its workers who have been an integral part of our 50-year journey. The pandemic has pushed the backbone of our industry, the daily workers, to a breaking point and YRF wants to support as many workers and their families who are in need due to the loss of livelihood. Yash Chopra Saathi Initiative is aiming to provide support to the pandemic hit workers of our industry who we urgently need to focus on," Akshaye Widhani, senior vice-president, Yash Raj Films said in a statement.
Film and television industry experts emphasize that apart from the core team of a production house that includes accountants and senior marketing executives, most people on a set tend to be recruited for individual projects for a limited shooting period of 70-80 days. These include professionals such as directors, writers, actors and camera personnel, who are obviously highly paid, but also other workers like spot boys, light men, make-up artistes, painters, carpenters and art department staff, who are paid on a monthly basis and may not make over Rs. 30,000 a month.
However, their jobs are critical and often involve handling costly equipment such as lights, which require skill that they acquire after months of training under a supervisor. The list may include junior artiste s or small-time actors, who are required only for a couple of days on a project.
Last year, the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) had said it was working towards the relief and rehabilitation of members engaged in various crafts. FWICE is the umbrella organization for 32 film craft departments and has more than 500,000 members. Lyricist Javed Akhtar-led Indian Performing Right Society had also declared an emergency relief package for around 3,150 authors and music composer members across various geographies to meet their basic needs for the first few weeks post the lockdown.