Pune artistes change professions to cope with, and survive lockdown uncertainties
For many stage artistes, the 2020 lockdown was a sort of bring down the curtain on their career. They had to change their profession for survival and now fresh restrictions have left them with uncertainties.
With no permission for stage shows throughout the year, artistes explored various options for financial support.
Prasad Kulkarni who is known for his magic tricks across Pune was left with no work in 2020 due to restriction on public shows. Along with colleagues, he started Kulkarni vada pav centre on Sinhgad road in May 2020.
“We sold one vada pav for one rupee during the first three days to attract customers. It worked as people started visiting our shop regularly. With people liking our quality, financially things began to fall in place for us,” said Kulkarni.
With restrictions imposed again, Kulkarni and his colleagues are in a spot, again, apprehensive about the future of their vada pav centre.
“With only the parcel system allowed, the business had definitely hit and it is the same for all eateries. We changed our profession to survive, but if this also does not allow us to earn then it will become difficult to survive,” said Kulkarni whose video online on problems faced due to the lockdown got viral.
“Actually the video was to only portray the difficulties people are facing and there was no political motive against the state government. Many people took it the wrong way and now I am getting calls asking for explanations about the video. Breaking the chain of Covid transmission is a must, but total lockdown will hurt the economic condition badly,” Kulkarni said.
Another artiste, Chaitali Majgaonkar Bhandari, who is a stand-up comedian from the city was left with zero income for seven months (March-September, 2020) before she started selling puppets online.
“Before the lockdown, I had a monthly income of ₹1 lakh which went to zero. From October I started to sell puppets which brought me stability. I used to conduct online shows, but it is completely different then performing in front of a live audience.
“Thing were getting normal and I did many shows between December-February. Now activities are again on halt due to the lockdown and it will make things difficult for many artistes,” said Bhandari.
“Artistes are creative people and many find ways to survive, but some will not cope with another long lockdown,” she said.