Sanjay Gandhi: Some production houses are using lockdown to reduce fee
“So many actors are sitting at home and are jobless. There is lack of work and roles are offered for low fee,” rues senior actor Sanjay Gandhi, who has been part of a number of TV shows and has been looking for work.
“The mood of the industry is very low. Your only hope is that things will improve one day. Every day, I hear of someone I knew passing away due to Covid-19. People are suffering and while I want to help people, but I feel helpless. I am not rich and am in a financial crunch as I haven’t acted since July 2020 in Nagin 4. I live in a rented house and have expenses every month. There is no work, no money, no future plan!” states the 50-year-old.
With lockdown, he also misses meeting people and relying on emotional support from his industry friends. Moreover, some of his friends contracted Covid-19, which added to his anxiety about stepping out for work as “it is risky”. He adds, “Moreover, today I am healthy, but will I be the same tomorrow? There is no guarantee. I have to lookout for myself and my health and I also have to go out of the house and work which is risky. Kare toh kya Karen?”
What is “frustrating” for him is that there are a few roles out there and though he thinks senior actors shouldn’t be called for audition, he went for one and was selected but the fee offered was so low that it felt “disrespectful”. “There are two kinds of people are working in the Covid-era. One is majboor and the other is mazdoor. Both have no option but to work in whatever capacity. It is a bad and scary situation. Some production houses are using lockdown as an excuse to reduce actor’s fee by 50 or 60%. That’s why actors refuse such offers and prefer to wait. After an audition, an okay, to be offered peanuts as remuneration for the lead antagonist’s role was not done. I felt hurt, upset and disrespected. Instead of agreeing to such pittance, I would rather sit at home.