Covid-19 leaves Bollywood industry daily wage workers in turmoil

‘I’m unable to pay off most of my bills due to lack of work amidst the pandemic,’ one worker says

Peony Hirwani@peony_hirwani
Friday 23 April 2021 12:09

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The second wave of the Covid-19 virus in India has left daily wage Bollywood industry workers in misery and chaos.

Due to continuous lockdowns in different states, no films are being shot in the nation, resulting in huge debts for workers.

“We are supposed to pay off our rent, maintenance fee, our children’s school fee, electricity bill, milk bills, and water bills. These are certain things in life that we need in order to survive and can’t cut off. However, due to lack of work, I’m unable to pay off most of my bills during the pandemic,” says Deepak Malakar who works as a spot boy in Mumbai.

“All the middle and high-class individuals can manage to survive with their savings, but I don’t have that. I’m ready to go to work every morning, but there are no opportunities at all,” he said.

Coronavirus infections in India have jumped by a record 332,730 in a single day, as the country’s hospitals struggle with limited oxygen supplies and bed shortages.

The state of Maharashtra where most of the Bollywood industry thrives is the worst-hit state with over 4 million cases and 62,479 deaths to date.

“We regret to inform you that we are suspending any new patient admissions in all our hospitals in Delhi... till oxygen supplies stabilise,” a healthcare provider said.

An assistant director named Manish Ahsiss Dubey told The Independent: “I travelled for three hours to attend a shoot, but when I reached there, we found out that our permission to shoot was denied by the government.”

“I am responsible to take care of my mom, dad, my wife and kids in Mumbai which isn’t a cheap city. The lack of work in the Bollywood industry has forced me to take small office jobs, and other hardships,” he said.

Dubey hails from the state of Uttar Pradesh [UP] who migrated to Mumbai to live with his family due to plenty of work opportunities. He said: “We don’t even have an option of going back home to UP because we don’t have any business or work opportunities there as well. At this point in life, I’m stressed out and in limbo.”

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