Amid lockdown, Producers' Guild, FWICE's initiatives to help daily wage workers hit a roadblock

Updated: Mar 25, 2020, 07:28 IST | Uma Ramasubramanian | Mumbai

As state government announces lockdown, initiatives announced by the Producers' Guild, FWICE to help daily wage workers hit a roadblock.

Mishra, Kapur and Advani were among those who initiated the dialogue around the plight of daily wage workers
Mishra, Kapur and Advani were among those who initiated the dialogue around the plight of daily wage workers

A week since the Producers' Guild announced the setting up of a relief fund for the daily wage workers and the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) promised to distribute groceries and other essentials, there has been little progress on the initiatives. The associations' best intentions have hit a roadblock with the state government imposing Section 144 from Monday.

Manish Goswami, vice president, Producers' Guild, says, "Not every daily wage worker has a bank account, so they would have to come and collect the money. At this point, an assembly of four to five people is not allowed, so we can neither gather [those in need] nor conduct meetings."

The association set up an account last Wednesday, encouraging industry folk to contribute to the fund. Soon, Farhan Akhtar, Sonam K Ahuja and other stars urged everyone in the industry to do their bit. Ask him if the Guild has accumulated a handsome amount during the week, and Goswami says, "We have received verbal commitment from many, but since the production houses are shut, they have not been able to make the transactions. Hopefully, we will get clarity on March 31; then, the funds will start coming in and we can distribute them."

Madhu Bhojwani
Nikkhil Advani

Among the filmmakers who had pledged support to the daily wage workers was Nikkhil Advani. Madhu Bhojwani, partner, Emmay Entertainment, rues that the process has slowed down. "While our intention is very much intact, the execution has been impeded in terms of resources," she says.

In the wake of the janta curfew on March 22 and the subsequent lockdown, the FWICE had to call off their week-long plan of distributing groceries among those affected by the suspension of shoots. BN Tiwari, president, says, "At the moment, the only way to help them is to give a door-to-door service [but that is not feasible]." While several television studios have come to their aid, he rues, "No Bollywood actor has offered help yet."

On Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown. The move, though necessary, will further affect the daily wage workers.

An act of kindness

anu

Even as he relentlessly rallies behind the daily wage workers, Anubhav Sinha took the lead in distributing food grains to the needy. On Monday, the filmmaker took to Twitter and called for volunteers who can help him in distributing ration across the city. Actor Ronit Roy was one of the first to lend him support in the initiative.

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