It goes without saying that the lockdown has had an adverse impact on everyone across the board, including the showbiz world. The daily-wage crew members — such as spot boys, carpenters, tailors and drivers etc. — have especially been hit the hardest. But now, as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting greenlights film/TV shoots with guidelines (after the Maharashtra government’s protocols) the fraternity welcomes the move, adding that such a decision “will have an immediate and direct positive impact on daily wagers.”
“It has been five months since the lockdown started (on March 25). Do you think it has been easy for people? Not at all,” says filmmaker Nikkhil Advani, who has multiple projects readying to go on floors now. He adds: “As the I&B ministry green-lights shoots, I am sure it must have come as a great news for many especially the daily-wage crew members, (who work on a film set). They have been hit the hardest due to the lockdown.”
In fact, last week, when Advani was doing rehearsals at Filmcity for Kaashvie Nair’s film (his next production starring Arjun Kapoor and Rakul Preet Singh), a few crew members came up to thank him to restart work. “They were like, ‘it’s becoming difficult to keep up with the expenses with every passing day.’ Remember actors, directors or producers can survive this lockdown, but for daily-wage workers, it’s an everyday earning,” he says.
Many feel that though daily wage crew members “will be a direct beneficiary” of the work restarting, the I&B ministry’s move will have a “clear impact on the entire ecosystem of the film and TV industry.” “Of course, the daily wagers stand to get benefited from work restarting in full flow. But we also have amny actors, especially in TV world, who work on daily-wage basis. And none of them had earned a single penny till TV shows restarted shoot in June. The great thing is now we can look at shooting anywhere in the country,” says Amit Behl, senior joint secretary and chairperson of CINTAA.
Director Anees Bazmee, on his part, feels a longer duration of lockdown can make things “even more tough for many.” “We (filmmakers and actors etc.) have had no issues (due to the lockdown) but the daily wagers have had a really tough time. Unke liye toh roz ki kamaai hoti hai,” says the Welcome maker, adding: “Ek filmmaker ya actor sirf shauk ke liye bhi film kar sakta hai par for them, it’s their only source of income. Agar yeh kaam nahi hoga toh shayad bahuton ke ghar chulhe bhi nahi jalenge.”