With shooting stopped until March 31, filmstars and filmmakers are enjoying the break and spending quality time with family or using the time to relax. However, this is a tough time for junior technicians, spotboys, camera and crane operators, freelance makeup artists and hairstylists. Many of them are sole breadwinners of their families and are really worried with the development.
“A celebrity can afford not to turn up for shoot, but if a technician, a spotboy, a lightman, a cameraman and a junior artiste does not turn up, they stand to lose their job. Junior artists get paid as less as Rs 300-400 and other workers get Rs 600-700 for working upto 16 hours,” says a source.
A spot boy attached to a recent production that has stalled shooting says, “I’m covered till March. But if this goes beyond March, then I don’t know if the production will compensate. I also cannot look for more work as nothing is happening. Everyone is sitting at home.”
“Normally, hairstylists like us get around Rs 2,000 on a daily basis. Most of us get to work for 10 to 15 days a month. That’s how the industry works. If you working a full month — like in TV serials — then you get Rs 1200 daily. If that also stops coming, how will we manage? As it is, there are too many people and too less work and it is not easy to get work. Due to the current situation, even pre-shoot meetings and auditions are getting postponed. If shoots do not start, we won’t get work,” says a Mira Road resident.
Taking cognizance of the situation, the Producers’ Guild has set up a relief fund for junior technicians who are likely to suffer the most amidst the Coronavirus lockdown. Siddharth Roy Kapur, President of the Producer’s Guild said, “The Producers Guild has decided to set up a Relief Fund to help support those most affected by the shutdown. We would encourage the entire fraternity to contribute to the fund, to ensure that we can do all we can to minimise the disruption in the lives of our valued colleagues and associates in this difficult time.”
Several top filmmakers and studios have committed to donating to the relief fund.
However, many are still worried how long they can sustain. The only hope now for many is that by April, work will resume.