Background dancer Janet John Nazareth, popularly known as Kitty Dancer in the film industry, is 49 years old. Reflecting on her career, Kitty said, “I have been a background dancer for more than 27 years. I was in Saroj Khan’s dance group, and then I assisted Rekha Prakash. I also assisted Kanu Master in Bhojpuri films, besides doing choreography for Konkani films. At my age, if I get a chance to dance in the background, I do it. If I get a chance to be an assistant choreographer, I take it up. But these are for small budget films, mostly regional.”
Talking about her recent work, Kitty shared, “I worked in Dabangg 3. Sabina Khan was our master. It was the last ‘big’ project I did. After that, I did a dance sequence for a Rajasthani movie with Saroj ji. At my age, we don’t really get opportunities for front line dancing, but Saroj ji makes sure we get opportunities if we are good dancers. So even at 49, I was in the front line for this song. I get small projects once every few months. Last two years have been really lean, but thanks to Saroj ji, I end up earning something.”
Kitty Dancer wasn’t getting enough work to sustain herself, and now the lockdown is an added pressure. She said, “The biggest stress that I have with the lockdown is that I don’t know how to earn money. At least before coronavirus, I was able to get some small projects, and earn Rs 12,000-15,000 per month. If I assist, then I make around Rs 18,000-20,000. I manage work for 7-10 days in a month. Right now that has stopped completely. However, I have received Rs 3,000 from Salman sir and I have received ration through FWICE.”
The background dancer added, “I am thankful for the aid that is provided by Salman sir. It has always been a great experience working on his film’s set too. Then the foodgrains that Ashok sir (Ashok Dubey, FWICE general secretary) and Gangeshwar Shrivastav (Film Studio Setting and Allied Mazdoor Union) supplied has turned out useful. They supplied ration to many of us. I live in Kandivali, so it was not possible for me to go to the office, but the union has helped me out. But this aid is not enough. I am a single mother. I take care of my father, who is paralysed. I also help my brother’s family. How will I manage everything with little money?”
“The biggest problem that senior members face is that they don’t have enough ration. Since they don’t get enough work, they don’t even have savings. And now because of the lockdown, they are helpless. With age, they also have a lot of medical issues. Some colleagues have stopped buying milk to save money. They are dividing their meals to survive this period. Many of us have stopped buying fresh vegetables. We are eating dal and rice for lunch and khichdi for dinner. We are managing somehow, but for how long can we pull on like this? One of my friends, who is a dancer too, was telling me she is left with only Rs 500. You tell me how this woman is going to survive on that much money. She too has children. She is not even able to meet anyone of us. How do we help her?” Kitty Dancer concluded.
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