Federation raided several TV show sets yesterday to ensure the second Sunday off rule is being implemented. hitlist took a ride with them
On April 6, we had reported that starting April, 22 bodies under the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) will have a compulsory holiday on second Sunday of every month. In order to make sure that the rule is being applied, several senior members of the Federation inspected the sets yesterday.
The raid began at 8.30 am and the workers who were dismantling the set of Kapil Sharma's show were the first to be asked to stop work. Through the day senior members of the federation patrolled in 15-20 cars and halted the work on sets of many other shows including Gul Khan's Adhuri Kahani Hamari in Bhandup, Meenakshi Sagar's show Jamai Raja in Madh Island, Begusarai of &TV, a Star Plus show in Kanjur Marg. Production managers of the show Tashan-e-Ishq who were planning to start shooting were also asked to go home.
"We had mailed the Indian Film and TV Producers Council (IFTPC) and Indian Motion Picture Producers' Association (IMPAA) on February 4 to inform them that second Sunday of every month starting April should be declared as a holiday. But we wanted to check if producers are really implementing it," says General secretary of FWICE Dilip Pithwa.
'We were asked to work'
Senior members of the federation also spoke to their respective members present on set that this is a fight for their good. A worker on the set of Jamai Raja, requesting anonymity says, "We know that the federation is fighting for us and second Sunday off is a good initiative, but the producers wanted us to work. If we don't listen to them, we might just lose our jobs."
Production head of another show, also on the condition of anonymity, says, "Producers knew about the demand but we were told to shoot. But now that the federation members have barged into set, we have to stop working. The producers' body should have taken the federation's message seriously."
A few producers, though, did take the federation's initiative seriously and requested them to allow them to shoot. "Ketan Gupta from Balaji had sent us a mail to tell us that out of their 12 shows, they would want to shoot for four owing to their telecast in a few days. Rajan Shahi had also requested a day before (April 9) that he will have to shoot for Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai because of a telecast on the very next day. We have given them permission because they at least requested us with valid reasons and also assured that they will maintain second Sunday off from next month," informs Pithwa.
Naveen Shetty, Association of Cine and Television Art Directors and Costume designers, says it's a victory for the federation. "We are fighting for better treatment for our members. Asking for a day off in month should be respected by producers. My members are happy that federation has taken the step," he states.
Sushant Singh, actor and general secretary of Cine & Television Artistes' Association (CINTAA), also seconds the federation. "The workers have promised that they will take a leave even if producers force them to work."
Producer J D Majethia of IFTPC says, "FWICE had written to us about the fixed holiday on second Sunday of every month and we immediately wrote to them back stating that practically that is not possible. We are absolutely for holidays 'on rotation' and most of the producers practice that with their actors and technicians.
Some of the sets that the senior members of the federation visited to check if the second Sunday off rule was followed
However like news industry, malls and airports etc, there can't be total shutdown of the industry on a fixed day. Till last evening, we have requested office bearers of FWICE that they should at least allow the producers who are stuck because of telecast issue etc. to shoot.
They did not listen to us and today more than 100 people entered the set of a lady producer Gul Khan on the set of her show Adhuri Kahani Hamari and forced the workers out of the set by threatening to cancel their cards. One of them picked up the camera and took it with him. Unfortunately despite repeated requests, the local police station could not provide help to the producer stating that they were short staffed.
The fact that 100 people enter a working premise and do whatever they want and the police is not there to help is scary for the production community. We will soon reach out to Mumbai Police for their help so that the TV industry can work safely in Mumbai and would request FWICE to not use illegal ways to force their point." Calling these allegation absolutely false, Pithwa says, "None of the workers were forced to do anything. We spoke to everyone politely."