On November 10, a Supreme Court ruling directed the Cine Costume Make-up Artists and Hair Dressers Association (CCMAA) to do away with a 59-year-old rule which barred women from working as make-up artists in the film industry.
But a little over a month later, Serina Dixeira, a make-up artist, has filed a complaint with the Samata Nagar police station in Kandivli, alleging that members of the association had confiscated her union card and told her she could not work as a make-up artist if she already had a union card for hair-dressers.
Dixeira was on the sets of director Meghna Gulzar’s film Talwaar, being shot in Kandivli, when the association’s vigilance team conducted a raid. They approached Dixeira and demanded to see her membership card, which she furnished. The five-member vigilance team, headed by Prashant Sadare, then told her she could not work as a make-up artist unless she was registered with the association.
“They told me I needed to hold a membership card as a make-up artist to work as one. But the association hasn’t communicated these details to me. My card was confiscated and I was told I needed to pay Rs 25,000 as fine and collect my hair-dresser card from the union office in Andheri,” said Dixeira.
The artist claimed the CCMAA had been charging Rs 1 lakh for a make-up card but did not take into account the fact that she already had a hair-dresser card for which she paid Rs 45,000.
The general secretary of CCMAA, Stanley D’Souza, however, said the vigilance team fined Dixeira because she had hired a non-member as an assistant, which is against the rules. “According to our rules, if a member hires people who are not part of the association, we charge them a fine them and forfeit their membership card, which is returned upon the payment of the penalty.”
Countering D’Souza’s claims, Dixeira said the team never told her that her card would be confiscated. “They demanded to see the card, claiming they would return it, but just walked away with it.”
D’Souza said the association held a meeting of all its members on December 6 where it announced that membership for make-up artistes was now open. “We sent out a circular inviting the members for the meeting. Many came, but Serina didn’t show up, he said.
However, Mehera Kolah, a veteran make-up artist in the film industry, said, “Firstly, the circular was in Marathi, which I cannot read. Secondly, many of us travel as part of our jobs. Should the association not have communicated the updates regarding the membership and any new rules through email or a circular issued to all production houses?”
The incident with Dixeira seems to have once again revived a sense of uncertainty among female make-up artists. While there are some who claim they cannot afford to spend Rs 1 lakh, others, such as Kolah, wonder why they should apply for a membership that doesn���t come with any benefits. “They charge people Rs 25,000 as penalty each time they find an errant, but where does that money go?” said Kolah.
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