In­def­i­nite strike in the film in­dus­try as writ­ers protest against un­fair treat­ment

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - An­juri Na­yar Singh an­juri. na­yar@ hin­dus­tan­times. com

Af­ter years of a stand-off with pro­duc­ers over credit, and roy­alty is­sues, writ­ers in the film in­dus­try have gone on strike, and the tele­vi­sion and movie busi­ness has shut down for the time be­ing.

“Yes, we are on strike since yesterday, and the rea­sons are sim­ple. The work­ing con­di­tions for writ­ers are not con­ducive,” con­firms Mayur Puri, writer and ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber of FWA (Film Writ­ers As­so­ci­a­tion). Elab­o­rat­ing on the is­sue, Puri tells us that the FWA had put to­gether a Min­i­mum Ba­sic Con­tract (MBC) in 2009 which en­tailed a stan­dard con­tract for film and TV writ­ers and lyri­cists, which had a min­i­mum pay­ment struc­ture. How­ever, that wasn’t im­ple­mented. “It is 2015, and the pro­duc­ers have not had one fruit­ful meet­ing with us,” he says, adding that their strike is be­ing sup­ported by all tech­ni­cians, and most ac­tors and di­rec­tors too.

Back­ing Puri, tele­vi­sion show writer Vinod Tha­rani says that the en­tire pay­ment struc­ture needs to be looked into be­fore the strike is called off. “The writer is only paid once the episode is tele­cast, which is usu­ally af­ter three months. A cer­tain per­cent­age should be given to us be­fore we start,” he says.

Mean­while, The Film & Tele­vi­sion Pro­duc­ers Guild of In­dia has ap­proached the court. “This strike is the re­sult of ar­ro­gance and power of the lead­ers of the fed­er­a­tion. But we have gone to court and got the judg­ment that no one will be forced not to work. I have also met the com­mis­sioner of po­lice and the chief min­is­ter and they have as­sured us that se­cu­rity will be pro­vided at all our sets,” says guild pres­i­dent Mukesh Bhatt.

Trade an­a­lyst Atul Mo­han says that while films won’t be af­fected too much, TV will be the worst hit if the protest con­tin­ues for long. “TV shows have just 5-6 days worth of episodes in their bank. So, if the strike does not end, they will lose out on money,” he says. Con­firms TV show pro­ducer Vikas Seth. “We shoot daily and busi­ness will be af­fected dur­ing strike.”

Bhushan Ku­mar,

pro­ducer Peo­ple want to shoot and there are so many films on hold. I hope we reach an am­i­ca­ble so­lu­tion

Sh­agufta Rafique, writer I have heard of peo­ple who have faced the prob­lem of not get­ting paid on time. As it is, writ­ers are the least paid

Ad­vaita Kala, writer In Sup­port of this (writ­ers’ strike) — I will not be sub­mit­ting my draft this Tues­day.

# pens­down

Mayur Puri, writer We have no hol­i­days and our fam­i­lies get af­fected. One of the aims of the strike is that ev­ery al­ter­nate Sun­day should be off

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