Kush Shah and 3 more test positive on Taarak Mehta sets… Anupama Actor Sudhanshu Pandey to Shoot from Home After Getting COVID-19… Aniruddh Dave shooting in Bhopal for web series critical… Actor-anchor Shripradha dies due to COVID Complications… Marathi actor Abhilasha Patil dies due to COVID complications… The first three days were horrible, says Anupama actor Tassnim Sheikh, who tested positive for COVID-19… These are a few of the myriad current headlines that have come as a shock to the actor fraternity. Everyone from Akshay Kumar to Govinda to Alia Bhatt to Katrina Kaif to Vicky Kaushal to Bhumi Pednekar to Aamir Khan to R Madhavan to Manoj Bajpayee to Ranvir Shorey has all been affected by Covid.
The prime example of the kind of lapses that have occurred was of the shoot of Major Bickramjeet Singh who unfortunately expired. He and two other actors who travelled from the airport lived in different hotels and travelled back to the airport separately had two things in common. They shared a vanity van in Lucknow. And brought home COVID to their spouses and families. Unfortunately one of them paid with his life. This is just one of the many casualties to COVID-19 we have faced in this difficult time.
Cine and Television Actors’ Association (CINTAA), while appreciating the efforts of the Producers and production houses to continue work beyond the boundaries of Maharashtra, has taken serious note of many of their artist members succumbing to death due to COVID while they were shooting outside Maharashtra and has immediately asked for all health and safety protocols to be strictly followed and a copy of SOP to be shared with them by their members, in order to examine any negligence that would have a severe impact on whole units.
CINTAA has also asked for the SOP designed as per the new strain of the virus which might show negative in the 1st RT-PCR and thus it means isolating cast and crew before and after the shoot.
Also asking for protocols for one-two day character artistes, CINTAA has also expressed that there is a need to make sure that they are shooting in the vicinity of medical emergencies or have made arrangements on the set and that actors have to undergo RT-PCR tests before going to the shoot on an outdoor location.
“It is wonderful that TV shoots are shooting in a bubble, with necessary precautions, but we are worried that a secure bio bubble of the IPL has been breached, it will not take long for this disaster to strike TV shoots. There is a traffic of actors travelling to and from shoots, using flights and airports and the danger of infection is tenfold,” stated the CINTAA spokesperson.
CINTAA also expressed the need to be in the know if all producers have adequately covered the health and life of actors and technicians. “With medical costs skyrocketing, it is only prudent that expenses are completely covered with no burden to our members,” averred CINTAA Spokesperson strongly urging that the 30 days payment is followed in the current situation till the pandemic is over to ease the financial position, CINTAA expressed displeasure on payment arrears since years to as low as Rs. 3000 even by the reputed houses.
Citing that actors who are not comfortable shooting during the current phase of the pandemic are being replaced overnight without any discussions further, CINTAA insisted that they be compensated.
“Most of the producers are saying that cine workers are frontline workers, we would like to point out that if any category that actually comes in the shape of frontline workers are the actors, who have to perform their scenes without masks. Who has to come in close contact with the Make-up artists, stylists and so on. So, they are most prone and susceptible to COVID infections. Hence, we are appealing to all the stakeholders that we want to know on whom does the moral responsibility lie: If the actor contracts COVID who is going to take care of the entire hospital/medical expenses, the insurance, injury cover, death cover, etc. Is the broadcaster taking the onus, studio taking the onus, or the producer association or individual producer is taking the onus, that is what we wish to know,” questioned CINTAA.
Urging the need to work in a healthy eco-system, CINTAA understands the problem of the stakeholders and the economics also but would like the Association to be consulted because “this current wave of the pandemic which is far more dangerous than the first wave and we are now most probably entering the 3rd wave of COVID 19 crisis. The pandemic has compelled us to distance ourselves socially but we stand united in our combat against the pandemic and we stay optimistic that our collective show of strength will bring in normalcy soon.”
The Executive Committee of CINTAA also applauded Yashraj Films’ endeavour to request the Honourable Maharashtra CM Shri Uddhav Thackeray for Covid 19 vaccination of 30,000 registered workers of FWICE Mumbai and pointed out that Actors, whether or not members of CINTAA, should be included in the drive, along with the 30000 registered workers.
Reacting to the news of Salman Khan to donate Rs 1,500 to 25,000 film industry workers amid the second wave of COVID-19, CINTAA lauded the move but expressed concern and helplessness on no CINTAA member actually being a beneficiary.
This CINTAA stance of coming in the open for its members marks a welcome change for the one-two day actors whose plight is worse than the film workers during this pandemic. If they are at home they will die of poverty and hunger and if they are at work without vaccination and adequate protection or instance, they will expose themselves to death due to pandemic.
Sadly, actors have nowhere been included in the various charities being offered, in spite of maximum casualties to this fraternity being at maximum risk at all levels including their unsure livelihood. This move by CINTAA is thus of utmost importance.