To combat black money, the Indian government took some bold steps by discontinuing the current lot of 500 and 1000 rupee notes. Like many businesses, even the film industry has been impacted by demonetisation.
Anil Kapoor Queues Up at ATM, Clicks Selfie With Fans
Although most Indians were happy with the government’s decision to curb money, its taking some time for normalcy to return (in terms of availability of cash).
Slumdog Millionaire actor Anil Kapoor recently tweeted a picture with fans, waiting for his turn at the ATM. Anil Kapoor tweeted “Taking selfies in an ATM line. Thanks to #Demonetisation, I get to meet you lovely people”.
I guess, Anil Kapoor’s presence gave something to cheer to those people, who must have been waiting for a long time in the queue.
— Apoorva M. (@apoorva_m1) December 1, 2016
War on Black Money Deals a Blow to Bollywood – Workers Affected, Shoots Postponed
The cash crisis in India has dealt a blow to the film industry, with several daily wage workers (carpenters, spot boys, junior artistes, drivers, iron men, and other technicians) getting affected, as most do not have bank accounts.
- A supplier, who used to distribute R1 lakh per day, is now able to withdraw Rs 50,000 a week. So, they are now merely managing to pay R50-100 as conveyance allowance to daily wage workers.
- Some producers are also issuing ‘group cheques’ (workers have been clubbed into groups). The cheque is made out in the name of one worker, who withdraws the money and disburses it to the others.
- Some small-budget film producers have put payment on hold and some still continue paying in the old R500 and Rs 1,000 notes (workers feel its better than not getting paid at all, while some workers accept it for fear of losing out on the job).
Producer Mukesh Bhatt says the industry’s day to day operations have been crippled following demonetisation, because of which several shoots have been postponed. Worst hit are the Television producers, who have to deliver daily episodes.
Black Money Supply Hit, Will India Still Continue to Churn Out Hundreds of Movies
In the film industry, there’s a saying that “there’s no business like Show Business”. Indians love films and film stars. While many aspire to be actors, those with deep pockets get associated with films by financing them.
The Indian film Industry makes over 1000 films every year, but many of those are funded by cash (black money).
There are several films that are financed by black money (cash that is unaccounted for, on which tax has not been paid). Businessman, underworld, politicians, property dealers, use their ill-gotten funds to finance movies.
Film and Television Producers Guild of India’s President Mukesh Bhatt however says the move will not affect Bollywood. “It’s a good thing. But the film industry is not impacted by it at all. We don’t deal in cash. The film industry has been completely corporatised and cleaned of all cash dealings”.
Cash is also paid to construct sets, buy props, and so on. Besides, remuneration to the crew (and even the cast) happens in cash.
— Rajinikanth (@superstarrajini) November 8, 2016
— बुलट बाबा (@buletbaba) November 8, 2016
So this move by the government will impact the production of a lot of films; especially the little known productions. Movies from big banners may not be impacted that much, as the funds are usually accounted for, and they have genuine sources of funding.
T 2435 – the new 2000 rs note is PINK in colour … the PINK effect ..!!
— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) November 8, 2016
While this move by the government will have several significant benefits for the Indian economy in the long term, several sectors, including the film industry may witness significant pain in the near term.
Hi guys. Who wants to be my friend? pic.twitter.com/d2P5ra3Am8
— Gaurav Kapur (@gauravkapur) November 8, 2016
So will the Indian film industry still continue to churn out hundreds of movies every year? We will have to wait and watch.