Shooting Hub Reality Check: Dues Of Bhopal Artists Unpaid For Years; Wages Less Than Labourer's

Shooting Hub Reality Check: Dues Of Bhopal Artists Unpaid For Years; Wages Less Than Labourer's

They say only Bollywood-like association can make production houses fall in line

SmitaUpdated: Monday, June 10, 2024, 12:30 AM IST
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Prithvi Theatre |

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Shiv Kumar Kataria, a theatre artist from the city, had enacted a role in Rajkumar Santoshi Production's feature film 'Gandhi Godse - Ek Yuddh' when it was shot in Pachmarhi and Bhopal in the year 2020. Last year, the film was released in the theatres.

Kataria was promised a remuneration of Rs 72,000 for the 12-day shooting schedule for the film. He was on the sets for around 15 hours every day and he was paid only Rs 20,000. 'For the past four years, I have been waiting for the remaining Rs 52, 000,' he said.

And this is not the only example. Many artists from the city have gone through similar experiences. They are expected to work for low wages and even that is not paid in full even by well-known production houses.

Artist Kamal Kishore Namdev took part in the shooting for Akshay Kumar-starrer Selfie in 2022 in Bhopal. He was to remain present on the set for around 20 hours and his wages were fixed at just Rs 400 per day. For comparison, the minimum wage for semi-skilled labourers notified by the state government is Rs 424 per day. And even out of that, Rs 3,500 remains unpaid. 'More than 300 local artists had played different roles in the film. Most of them are yet to be paid in full,' says Namdev.

Similarly, Vibha Shrivastava had played a role in 'Tiwari' - a web series. The remuneration was fixed at Rs 5,000 per day. She shot for 20 days but was paid only for 15.

Artistes say that the state government's policy for promoting shooting of films, TV serials and web series may have turned the state into a shooting hub but the artists have not benefited from it. They are still struggling for their due wages. 'There are no fixed rates. All negotiations are oral. Nothing is given to us in writing. So we cannot even lodge a formal complaint,' Kataria said. Production houses and film makers were exploiting the local artistes. Artistes donít even get to meet the producers and directors of films. Local casting directors play middlemen between them and the production houses.

Artists say that with more and more films, web series etc being shot in the state, Madhya Pradesh urgently needs a cine artists' association along the lines of Mumbai. 'We need a body which can fix rates, negotiate with production houses and ensure that the rights of the artists are protected,' Kataria added.

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