With Bollywood dreams put on hold, UP artistes stare at uncertainty
UP artistes who returned home haven’t been able to go back; they’re also unsure if they will get enough work to sustain themselves if they do choose to head for MumbaiUpdated: Sep 05, 2020 15:45 IST
Monika Shilpkar, a 24-year-old TV actor, returned home in Lucknow for Holi in March thinking she would be back in Mumbai later than month. But six months on, she is still in Lucknow even as shooting for serials has restarted after it was halted in March as part of measures to check the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a limited number of artistes and technical staff have been allowed to resume shooting, Shilpkar is unsure whether she would get enough work to sustain herself as many artistes are finding it hard to make ends meet in Mumbai.
“Actors go to Mumbai with dreams to make it big. They mostly depend on the money they get from assignments on a daily basis. But with no shooting these days, they are finding it difficult to survive. That is why most of the artistes have returned [to their homes]. Some serials have begun to be shot again, but [with] a limited number of artistes and technical staff,” said Shilpkar, who has worked in Ram Siya Ke Luv Kush serial. “My father has been diagnosed with cancer. In Mumbai, my rent deposit with the landlord has exhausted. I do not know what to do.”
Shilpkar is not alone. Amit Sinha, 38, who has worked in Mumbai for 15 years, said even he found it difficult to survive there and now is back in Lucknow despite working in films like Mission Mangal and Mardani.
Akanksha Awasthi, 22, who has worked in serials like Crime Patrol, CID, Shapath, Crime Alert, said artistes in Mumbai get paid after 90 days of work. “There are many producers who pay after three months of the date of telecast [of a serial]. The money of most of the artistes is held up there even as they face hardships.”
Cine and TV Artistes Association joint secretary Amit Behl said they have written to the Union government seeking help for artistes. “[Actor] Hema Malini, who is an MP [member of Parliament] from Mathura, has spoken to finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman for help to artistes. The good news is that the government has asked for the account number and IFSC codes of all artistes registered with us and we have shared the same with them,” he said. “We have urged producers to follow the 30-day payment cycle instead of 90.”
Veteran actor Anil Rastogi said he knows a number of artistes affected adversely due to the sudden closure of the Industry. “If they do not get help from the government, they would be in trouble. I have also lost a lot of work.”
Uttar Pradesh Kalakar Association general secretary Vinod Mishra said they have helped over 40 artistes forced to return to their homes. “I have started making a data bank of such artistes to provide further help.” Mishra said he met Uttar Pradesh Film Vikas Parishad chairman Raju Srivastava to discuss the situation and also sought an appointment with chief minister Yogi Adityanath to highlight their problems.
Srivastava said he has written to Adityanath seeking help for the artistes.