Used to a daily dose of TV soaps with your dinner? Brace for re-runs, stale episodes or even blackouts as the face-off between workers, producers and television channel threatens to play serial-killer.
The strike will impact most channels. The serials affected, among others, include Bidaai on Star Plus, Saat Phere on Zee, Lo Ho Gayi Pooja Iss Ghar Ki on Sab, Hum Ladkiyan on Sony and Jeevan Sathi on Colors.
Demanding higher wages, better work conditions and more breaks between shoots, the Federation of Western India Cine Workers (FWICE) had earlier struck work on October 1.
At that time, shooting for most serials came to a standstill. The luckier producers had a bank of episodes, while others fell back on recalls that went: Kahaani ab tak...
Two days later, a middle ground was reached. Shoots resumed and the television industry was a picture of relief. But as it turns out, the truce was temporary.
Now, the federation and the channels are again at loggerheads. Says Dharmesh Tiwari, president of the Federation: “The assurance we got from the producers about the money was never carried out. These demands aren’t new— we had approached producers three years ago. A global meltdown is just an excuse. Was there a meltdown three years ago?"
Keerthan Adyanthaya, executive vice president of Star Plus has described the federation’s demands as ‘obscene.’ He says: “Other industries are laying off people and we're still paying producers good amounts. Ad revenues have gone down too. If the matter isn’t resolved, we will air repeats.”
No easy solution is in sight, says Mukesh Bhatt, vice president of the Association of Motion Picture & TV Programme Producers. “Workers aren't ready to compromise on hikes. Broadcasters aren’t ready to pay producers. Channel heads ought to take the first step. My sympathies are with the worker: His family could starve.”