Amitabh Bachchan, Bollywood, hardly noticing that Cathy was not with them. The guide’s shrilled voice continued. ‘It was the doings of Fr. Kane who soon got mixed up in some scandal at that time. The villagers in a fit of ang, Hindi Films
“THE FILM INDUSTRY SHOULD COMPENSATE US!!!” A mob of professionals’ alleged demand rocks the biggest film industry in the world
Faking News Agency
Mumbai: Since last two days, angry mobs have laid siege outside Film City, Goregaon demanding compensation from the film fraternity. In what seems to be a first of its kind, various non-filmi unions such as the Maids’ Union, Drivers’ Union, Construction Workers’ Unions, Waiters’ Union, Cooks’ Union etc. have come together for a common cause, that they be compensated for the financial and emotional losses that they are incurring because of the films being made in India.
This comes as another jolt to the producers and the film fraternity who are already at a loggerhead with the multiplex owners over profit sharing and the side effects of the recession that has hit the economy waist down.
In order to get a clear picture from the agitating mob why they were seeking compensation, Faking News (FN) decided to speak to the leaders of the various unions stationed outside the biggest film studio in Mumbai. But before that the reporter first met with the film industry representative to get a first hand report but according to the representative Mr. Bol Bachchan, he clearly had no idea why the mob were agitating against the film industry.
‘Frankly, I have no clue whatsoever why they have congregated outside the studio. All they are screaming for is compensation. But compensation for what?’ Mr. Bol Bachchan argued.
‘I have asked all my esteemed colleagues and everyone denies having used any of these people for any of their productions. So what are they seeking compensation for? It’s sheer conspiracy by vested interest to malign the name of our film industry’.
Not clear with the reason for the siege, FN then met with the leader of all unions who had all come together for a collective pause, Ms Gangubai to get an appraisal of the situation and their demands.
FN: Gangubai, you represent the Maids’ union?
Gangubai: Hoi (Yes).
FN: Gangubai, can you tell me the reason for this protest outside the film studio?
Gangubai: You see, all these people are simply asking for compensation…
FN: Compensation for what? I met with the filmi representative and they deny that they ever used your service.
Gangubai: Service? Tyacha ayshi cha gho! Aamhi tashi log nahin. (That bloody… we are not that kind of people) Me tumhala boltey (Okay let me tell you). All these years, these filmi folks have been showing us maids in such bad lights that today we have to pay the price for it.
FN: I don’t undersand…
Gangubai: Okay, wait first see this man here. He is Maharaj, a professional cook in Lokhandwala. He is also the head of the cooks’ union. See what the film industry has done to him and his fellow members. Nowadays, their employers expect these poor cooks to multi-tasks. It’s simply isn’t about cooking anymore.
FN: Multitasking? A cook is simply supposed to cook and that’s it.
Gangubai: Gone are the days when the cooks simply had to cook. Thanks to Rajesh Khannas and the Govindas and the David Dhavans of this film industry, these cooks are now forced to supplement their cooking by singing and dancing and what not and that too at such a paltry salary.
FN: What’s Rajesh Khanna, Govinda had to do with all this?
Gangubai: Oh my god. You don’t watch too many movies, do you?. Does ‘Bawarchi’, ‘Hero No. 1’ ring a bell?
FN: Yes but…
Gangubai: Then you will know that in these movies, the lead actor’s primary profession was being a cook. And yet they went about singing and dancing and what not to appease their employers. In fact, they are psychologists too, understanding other human minds so easily. And now Maharaj’s employer too expects him to do something similar. I mean nowadays the cooks in order to get a decent job, they not only have to master the art of cooking but they also has to learn singing and dancing and yes fighting and what not to stay ahead in this highly competitive world.
FN: Aha now I understand the cooks’ stand. But where do maids come in?
Gangubai: You are such a dumb ass. Have you seen how the maids are portrayed in films? Most of them are shown wearing brand new starched sarees, heavy jewelry, make up on and appear well fed and are treated as a family member. Take the case of the maid in No Entry. You tell me in real life are we such kind of maids? How can we afford this kind of attire in real life and at such low salary and look at our sizes, size zero! Even Kareena looks well fed at that.
FN: But Gangubai, there are also skinny maids in films who are in tatters at times, ill-fed and sans any jewelry.
Gangubai: Oh yes. Them. (spits) And what are these maids’ back stories in these films? Most of them are from rich, affluent families. Remember Karz? They get thrown out of their homes by their sons or daughter-in-laws and they end up as maids. Tell me aren’t these women supposed to be educated since they belong to the rich class? Doesn’t the government propagate education for all? Women empowerment etc.? Don’t they get a decent education or are they supposed to be illiterate because they have lot of money to see them through? Can’t these women take a decent job in some office rather than take up jobs as maids and get humiliated at every second minute? You know the side effect of such portrayal on screen? Half of my people are looked down upon as women from rich and affluent background. As a result, we are paid less, not given enough food and often forced to work long hours. Our background is screened thoroughly. Even spies don’t have such strict background checks. Okay forget about us, look at Annakutty here. Oye Anna, tell this gentleman about your problem.
Annakutty: Saar, I represent the construction workers’ union. After seeing rich educated heroes in films taking up jobs as construction workers, we are fast losing out on jobs as well as decent salaries. We are paid measly wages thanks to stars like Salman and Aamir.
Another Man: And Amitabh too…
FN: What’s Amitabh Sir got to do with this?
Annakutty: Amitabh Sir has a lot to do with this. People watch his films and follow his style, his actions, his mannerism. And soon Amitabh will be in a thick soup when the Merchant Navy’s union too joins our stir. He will be forced to forced to break kala pathar in jail after getting giraftar…
FN: Amitabh… navy men joining the stir? What is all this nonsense?
Annakutty: Remember his film ‘Kala Pathar’? Amitabh, a captain in the navy takes up a job as a miner in a coal mine. And now with recession that’s hit worldwide, captains are facing a similar situation. Soon they will be forced to take up jobs as miners and construction workers thanks to Amitabh and Salman and of course Aamir. Aamir did it in ‘Dil’, Salman did it in ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’. They are highly educated in their respective films and from rich families and what they do? They take up construction worker’s job. At one point even if we were illiterate, we would get a construction job easily and a decent salary but now the builders expect us to be highly educated. Graduates and MBAs and so forth. We are losing our jobs to these educated folks thanks to films and we demand compensation for the same.
Gangubai: It’s not just them or us. Look at these poor drivers. Their drivers too expect them to be highly educated so that they can discuss their work with them… you know that white collar term… hmmm yes brainstorming! Each one of us has got a complete makeover thanks to films. Now if we don’t seek compensation, who will? We need to be compensated for the emotional and financial attachyar that we are facing. We will soon have the pilots’ union, the police union as well as some other unions to support us soon.
Faking News decided to mediate between the agitating unions and the film industry. But the representative Mr. Bol Bachchan flatly refused to compensate for the losses faced by the various union members. “We are a democratic country and have the creative liberty. The demands by the various unions are baseless.” But in principal he agreed that there will be a slight change in the disclaimer in the beginning of the movie.
Disclaimer: ‘This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual person living or dead, is purely intentional. And all characterisation and portrayal have been done by professional actors and should not be imitated or expect others to imitate or follow the same.’
The unions still have not decided what the next course of action will be in reply to the ‘disclaimer’ notice by the film industry.
Stay tuned in for further updates as more unions are expected to join the agitation at Film City.
(This article was first published in the now defunct passionforcinema.com)