Bol­ly­wood celebs not so nice to house staff

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Etti Bali

What kind of peo­ple would give hard­work­ing do­mes­tic staff a frac­tion of their promised salary, throw plates at them, abuse them ver­bally and phys­i­cally, and after all that, ex­ploit their con­tacts to get out of any le­gal has­sles? Why, the rich and fa­mous, of course, in­clud­ing the some­what rich and some­what fa­mous.

“One Marathi ac­tor threat­ened me with mur­der,” says Ab­hishek Sable, di­rec­tor of the Mum­bai-based Happy Maids Ser­vice, re­call­ing the time he tried to take up a com­plaint of abuse with the client who hired the maid. “I’ve stopped tak­ing con­tracts from Bol­ly­wood,” adds Sable. He says that if a client didn’t like a maid’s cook­ing, “they’d throw the plate at her face”. What’s more “gaali toh unke mooh pe re­hta tha (They were al­ways abus­ing)”.

The treat­ment meted out to their do­mes­tic staff by the show­biz folk was high­lighted re­cently through a blog post, writ­ten by Anu­pam Sing­hal, owner of the Mum­bai-based ser­vice provider agency Book My Bai, on the agency web­site. The blog ex­plained why the agency had put a blan­ket ban on “Bol­ly­wood celebri­ties” as its clients — the rea­son was the in­hu­man treat­ment suf­fered by the staff.

Dig­ging deeper to find out if this is a trend, we find that, in­deed, it is. Go­ing by what sev­eral agency own­ers say, it’s the women who mis­treat their staff more than the men do.

One ser­vice provider, wish­ing to re­main un­named, re­ferred to a fe­male ac­tor: “She’s di­vorced with two chil­dren and comes from a fam­ily of ac­tors. Woh maid ko time pe khaana nahi dete the (She didn’t give the maid meals at the right time). They gave her party left­overs. These things hap­pen with stars. Hum zada inn logo ka kaam nahi lete hain, kyuki inke com­plaints aate re­hte hain (We don’t take too many jobs from them, as we keep get­ting com­plaints about them).”

I’ve stopped tak­ing con­tracts from Bol­ly­wood. If a client didn’t like a maid’s cook­ing, they’d throw the plate at her face AB­HISHEK SABLE, AGENCY OWNER Many times, the ser­vants don’t even re­port these in­ci­dents to us, as the em­ploy­ers take big names and threaten them MO­HIT YA­DAV, AGENCY OWNER

Sable of Happy Maids Ser­vice speaks of the or­deal of a cook pro­vided to a celebrity by his agency: “[The em­ploy­ers] would come home late at night and wake the cook up with a kick, and then they’d de­mand that food be cooked right then. We tried go­ing to the po­lice, but to no avail. One [fe­male] ac­tor falsely ac­cused a maid of theft. When I went to the po­lice, she called a min­is­ter. Case dis­missed.”

Another ser­vice provider says on the con­di­tion of anonymity that a Bol­ly­wood ac­tor paid the agen­cypro­vided staff just twothirds of the salary, say­ing that there wasn’t enough work for them. “When we say we’ll ap­proach the po­lice, they re­tal­i­ate say­ing they’re not scared,” says this agency owner.

Sing­hal says that some of these bad clients are even Na­tional Award win­ners. “If I take a name, the celebrity files a defama­tion case against [our] com­pany. The maid should stand next to me and say that she’ll go to the po­lice. Or else, I can’t prove any­thing,” he adds.

Then there’s in­tim­i­da­tion. Mo­hit Ya­dav, of Mum­baibased Hon­est En­ter­prises, says, “Many times, the ser­vants don’t even re­port these in­ci­dents to us, as the em­ploy­ers take big names and threaten them.” He says that if he doesn’t like a client’s at­ti­tude when meet­ing them, he re­fuses his ser­vice.

PHOTO: ISTOCK

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