Lockdown 4.0: No cash flow, unpaid dues. How Manmeet’s suicide highlighted the financial crisis in
The lockdown extension has left many jobless, while the government has eased restrictions on nonessential items, maintaining social distance is still being advised. The Covid-19 has affected almost every sector and even people in the entertainment industry are out of work. Shows are not being shot, producers are not clearing dues and thus a lot of celebrities are facing financial crisis. Recently, “Aadat Se Majboor” fame star Manmeet Grewal’s suicide shook the industry.
Unpaid dues and no work during this pandemic, led the 32-year-old to hang himself at his home. There are many other celebrities like him who are having trouble in paying their bills. Actor Ashiesh Roy, who was admitted for dialysis at a hospital, too asked for monetary help through his social media post so that he can get discharged.
Actors feel that the situation is worsening, but nobody can be blamed directly for it. Some also feel that while good production houses are making sure that their actors are paid on time, some are just using Covid-19 or the lockdown as an excuse to not make the payments.
Here’s what the celebrities have to say about the financial crisis faced by the industry.
Vijayendra Kumeria: I understand that producers are facing problem since the past two months due to Covid-19 and that is acceptable. The problem is that a lot of them are using this as a reason to not make payments, even for projects which have gone off-air months before the corona pandemic. However, there are some good production houses, who are still paying to the people who have worked for them. So, in short, it's about the will to pay and take care of your people, which sadly lacks in some. Of course the lockdown has hit the industry badly. From the channel to a spot boy, everybody is in a fix. It’s about sustainability. Some can survive but a lot of people especially the daily wage workers are finding it very difficult to feed themselves.
Vikas Sethi: Nobody was prepared for this catastrophe, but it has definitely taught us that one should be prepared for the worst too. Right now, there is no inflow of money, so we need to be smart and cut down on unnecessary expenses. And I know that actors need to maintain a lifestyle, but during this time, it’s best to save for survival than spend on pretentious stuff. Moreover, financial crisis can lead to mental torture too. So one needs to be strong and talk to people who are close to them. And I believe, as an industry, as a family, we must be there for each other.
Kettan Singh: The condition is getting worse by the day. This will definitely have an effect on actors and their daily lifestyle because for them there is no other source of income. Some producers have made sure they pay their actors but some are just unable to do so. And you can't even blame the producers for it because their dues are stuck with the channels, and channels are struggling with airtime sales which is nonexistent right now. Manmeet moved to the extreme and I can't imagine what his mental state would have been. And Ashiesh Roy, I have worked with him in 2016 for a few episodes of a show. I would urge my fellow actors to stand for each other, and would also like to request the artists association to help actors, who are in need, through contribution, donation or even counselling.
Arun Mandola: One of my friend doesn’t have a single penny because the producers are not clearing his dues. Actors are already in a bad situation and production never gives the money on time. We get the payment after 60-90 days. So, actors are already in a big trouble. plus the lockdown has made it worse. Mumbai is expensive compared to other cities, so with no income and lots of expenditure, it has become quite difficult. CINTAA should make some good policies for actors too. If an actor comes late then he is called unprofessional but what about the production houses not giving the payment on time. The worst part is that there is no unity between artists. Manmeet committed suicide and now Ashiesh Roy is in the hospital and nobody is there for us. We need some powerful leaders who can lead actors.
Sharad Malhotra : The situation is surely tough. There is saying tough times never last but tough people do. We don't know when the lockdown will be over and when things will get back to normal. Everyone is facing the same issue, but whatever it is we will have to face it. The suicide of an actor and non-payment is surely not good news. The industry will take time to stand on its feet. Nothing is permanent.
Jasmin Bhasin: One must manage one's finances properly. Life can be very unpredictable. No one had imagined a lockdown ever. The industry is going through a temporary phase of a low period as shoots are stuck. Eventually things will change. One has to live life practically and sensibly. One must have the right emotional support system. Money is surely important for survival. And to know actors committing suicide is painful.
Rishina Kandhari: Life was never a bed of roses for anyone ever. Life has to be lived fully even with the ups and downs. It's a temporary phase and we were definitely not prepared for it but this too shall end. One must take care of one's mental health. Suicide is not the solution. It is true economic losses and troubles are a reality. Money is needed and the economy has to pick up again post lockdown.