The suicide of television actor Manmeet Grewal due to financial crisis has given rise to a number of serious conversations in the TV industry. One of the most pressing issues is actors and technicians not being paid by the producers on time and the dearth of work. Actors like Nia Sharma, Raza Murad and Amit Behl, Senior Joint Secretary and Chairperson of Outreach Committee, CINTAA, have taken to Instagram to pen their concerns about the treatment of cast and crew in the television space.
Naagin 4 actor Nia Sharma wrote on social media that quite a few of her friends haven’t been paid since last year or more, and with EMIs, mounting rents and a host of other expenses, everyone is losing their patience.
“...I know many of my friends(Actors) that haven’t been paid since last year or more with rents and EMIs mounting, work this year clearly being halted indefinitely, everyone’s losing patience somewhere. I know, Producers have bigger risks and problems to deal with .. no clarity on the industry resuming Work any soon ,but still keeping up with the salaries of their huge staff , I totally respect that! Infact would thank them for generating thousands of jobs for us through the years, I could make a better life here. On that note, I’d just like to make a humble request on behalf of my fellow actors/ friends, other daily wagers that their dues be paid asap especially at a time when they need it the most so that we’re not waking up to more such Suicide Stories a few days or a month later!!”, she wrote.
Amit Behl also took to Instagram to urge producers to clear the dues of actors. “We urge television producers to clear the dues of their cast. Actors need money to survive, so producers should not insist on the 90-day payment system in the face of such a crisis. If people are paid their dues, we can avert such tragedies”, he wrote in one of his stories.
In one of his Instagram stories, veteran TV actor Raza Murad said that it’s sad that the TV industry follows a policy of clearing dues after 90 days.
“There are many workers, including actors, who are currently facing a financial crisis because of this. If this situation continues, we fear that there may be more Manmeet Grewals. I would like to appeal to the government to give us permission to start work with minimum workers, with all the precautions in place”.Raza Murad
Chairman of the TV wing of Indian Film and Television Producers Council (IFTPC) JD Majhetia wrote in his Instagram story that it’s important that fellow workers be taken care of at a time when work has been stalled due to the coronavirus lockdown.
“I had previously sent a mail in this regard to all the producers and yesterday, I again penned a note urging them to clear dues. In addition, they should make an advance payment to those who are in need”, he said adding, “We have a plan in place and would like to discuss it with the Maharashtra government. We would like to resume shoots with a smaller workforce. It is important that the show goes on.
Reacting to Manmeet’s suicide, Yeh Hai Mohabbatein actor Karan Patel calls it a “cowardly act”. Taking to Instagram, Karan wrote that sometimes one has to face life’s “curve balls” because suicide cannot be a solution. Also, after the person is gone, it’s his/her family that’s left behind with grief and sorrow.
Manmeet Grewal, who was seen in shows such as Aadat Se Majboor and Kuldeepak, committed suicide at his residence in Navi Mumbai on Friday, 15 May, night. The actor was burdened by debt and couldn’t find any work due to lockdown. The 32-year-old was found hanging in the bedroom by his wife who tried to save him on Sunday. However, he was declared brought dead by the hospital.