Sanaya Irani: Actors must put their foot down and raise their voice over non-payment of dues
“Pandemic or no pandemic, to have to beg for your own hard-earned money is just sad.” Actor Sanaya Irani’s views about non-payment of dues in the TV industry are clear cut, as she adds, “It is a terrible time for everyone, especially those who didn’t have enough savings or living off what they earned and now they have none of that.”
TV actor Manmeet Grewal’s recent suicide due to financial crisis, left her sad and heartbroken, as did hearing the news about many others in the industry who took to social media to complain about producers not paying them for a long time, and about struggling to pay rent and to buy groceries.+ +
The actor recalls that delay in payments used to happen during her time in the industry as well, but she never experienced such a dire situation.
“I’ve not done TV in six years and I do remember during that time also, producers used to make up excuses that they will pay after three months because the channel will pay them after three months. It’s always blamed on the channel. One person passes the buck to the other, but it is like you are eating into the poor people’s lives. I never had to wait for a long time because the producers I’ve worked with were very nice and I was very professional about these things,” Irani says.
Some actors wait for four to six months for their payment. However, the 36-year-old actor questions, “Why are you working for somebody for this long? Why are you not putting your foot down and raising your voice at the right time? First, producers opt for newcomers who are willing to work for less money. And in the fear of losing work, actors are okay with taking money eight months later.”+ +
The only way to change this, according to Irani, is when actors raise their voice at the right time. “If you don’t get your money in three months, raise your voice in the fourth month. Don’t fear stigma or the fear of somebody throwing you out of the show,” she says.
The actor, who did a few projects before the lockdown, is also waiting for her payments to be passed. “I’m willing to wait as I understand that it’s a hard time for everybody. Luckily, I’m in a position where it’s not like a hand-to-mouth situation. So, if I could make somebody else’s day or month better by holding on a little, I’ll hold on. At a time like this, you realise that none of all that name, fame, money, or the 10,000 things you have or don’t have, really matters. What matters is humanity,” she says.
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