A day after the Film and TV Producers Guild (FTPG) proposed that Bollywood actors now pay their personal staff (hairdressers, make-up artistes, bodyguards et al) out of their pockets, most filmmakers reacted positively. Seasoned producers like Sajid Nadiadwala, Ekta Kapoor and Ramesh Taurani, and newcomers like Siddharth Jain and Kumar Mangat, were in agreement.
Some pointed out that it would lessen the burden on their budgets and in turn bring down the production costs. Mangat says, “Ajay Devgn is among the few stars I know who doesn’t ask producers to pay for his staff. He takes care of them himself. I think it’s high time that other actors did the same.”
Make-up artiste and hairstylist Deepak Sawant, who has worked with Amitabh Bachchan for over three decades and recently also turned producer with Bhojpuri films, says that the decision can have mixed reactions. “For all you know, the stars might hike their fee to pay their staff,” says Sawant.
Nadiadwala seconds him, adding, “More than cost-cutting, this decision will cut out all the negativity. It won’t make a big difference to the producer’s pockets.”
However, filmmaker Ramesh Taurani isn’t worried about the hike in star remuneration. “Even if they up their rates, we will be saving ourselves from a lot of daily hassles. We will pay whatever money a star demands and get rid of all the inconveniences that come with individual payments that have to be made to their entourage,” he says.
Producer Ekta Kapoor prefers to play the wait-and-watch game. “We have to see how things go. If an actor, for example, charges a big amount right at the start (including staff expenses), it won’t serve any purpose,” she says.
Deepak Sawant (make-up man to Amitabh Bachchan): We’re workers and cannot work without being paid. So, whether the producers pay us or the stars do, it’s fine. It’ll only be a compromise if a star boss decides to pay his staff less than their current fee. But I think we’ll still work with our star bosses since they are the ones who make us, not the other way around.
Shera (bodyguard to Salman Khan): I have nothing to do with any producer as far as my remuneration is concerned. Till date, I haven’t taken any money from a director or producer. I directly deal with Bhai (Salman) and no one else.
Kedar Singh (Man Friday to Vivek Oberoi): If I’ve to deal directly with our stars, there’s no problem, since Vivek and I share a special relationship. I am happy with the decision.
Jaya Surve (Hairstylist to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan): It will be tough, as it would depend on the stars. If the star is generous and doing well, we will be paid well. If not, then well… This should not have happened, as we were paid according to the union rate card and were being paid well and on time.
-Team HT Cafe