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CINTAA Will Help If An Actor Does Not Want to Shoot: Sushant Singh

All film and TV shoots should have been shut down immediately says Sushant Singh.

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Bollywood
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The coronavirus pandemic and the resultant precautionary measures have led to the suspension of all film, television and web series shoots in Mumbai’s entertainment industry from 19 March. This is an unprecedented move which will cause losses amounting to crores for the industry and hit its unorganised daily wage sector the hardest.

Speaking about the how the industry and its federations are dealing with the pandemic, Sushant Singh, actor and General Secretary of the Cine and TV Artists Association (CINTAA), says, “We are grappling in the dark, trying to figure out what exactly we can do in this situation. It’s a pandemic and we are definitely not equipped to deal with it at all. For now, except for relaying the same information that the government has been sending there is little that we can do.”

Sushant says that the association’s priority is to safeguard the rights of its members, “Before the federations decided to call off all the shoots, we already sent a mass message to our members saying as far as possible please avoid shootings. We can’t order a shut down as a single organisation. Thankfully, the federation and producers also decided that 19 March onwards we should suspend all shoots.”

Which brings us to the question, why have film and television shoots been suspended only from 19 March (Thursday) onwards and not immediately, when the state government had on Friday itself announced the closure of cinema halls, swimming pools, gyms and auditoriums?

“In my personal opinion, it (suspension of shooting of films and TV shows) should have been immediate, but I am guessing because of the pressure under which all the daily soaps operate, I guess they decided to give a 3-day leeway to create some sort of a bank of episodes, that’s the only explanation.”
Sushant Singh, actor and Gen Sec CINTAA
All film and TV shoots should have been shut down immediately says Sushant Singh.
Sushant Singh says he personally believes all film and TV shoots should have been suspended immediately. 
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

However, the authorities don’t seem to be taking it lightly, Sushant shares that he got information that the Mumbai Police was cracking down on film and tv shoots at Film City, “I got a message this morning that shoots at Film City were stopped by the Mumbai Police who came with some court order thereby suspending all shoots immediately.”

But, if an actor does not want to go on a shoot in the current situation, will the association back the artist? Or if an actor complains that a particular set or unit is not taking adequate precautions to keep the working conditions safe and virus free, will CINTAA take up the case? “Absolutely, we’ll back the actor if any such incident happens,” responds Sushant.
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While actors who are members of CINTAA may not be adversely hit by the industry shutdown, it will be the junior artists who will be affected the most. Junior artists, who are popularly known as “extras”, have non-speaking parts and are part of the background in scenes that involve crowds, dances or fights. But junior artists aren’t represented by CINTAA, “The junior artists come under a separate union and I don’t think any individual union is rich enough to create some kind of a fund to help its members in such a situation,” Sushant explains.

However, some conscious members of the industry are doing their bit to help ease the damage caused by the pandemic. Sushant tells me how filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor’s team is going the extra mile, “What’s heartening is that I was supposed to do a series with Nagesh Kukunoor, and they had to cancel their shoots, so Elahe Hiptoola (producer) had called me day before and though they cancelled the shoot, they have told all their daily wage labourers that they will be paid for all the cancelled dates. So, such initiatives by individual producers, and if they are backed by channels and OTT platforms that will be fantastic,” he says.

We also saw a few filmmakers come together over the weekend to raise funds for the daily wage earners that they have previously worked with in the industry. All of them are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that things return to normal soon.

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Topics:  Sushant Singh   CINTAA 

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