The lockdown has been tough for hairdresser Hetal Satar, 48, who earns a living working on Marathi films and TV serials, Bhojpuri movies and reality shows. On average, she made Rs 20,000 a month, which went towards her family of four that includes her husband, who is a pujari at a roadside temple, and two children.
With the lockdown getting extended again, Hetal is worried about pulling through this period. In the profession since 2007, she never imagined a scenario when there would be no work. “This is the first time that there is no work at all. I had never imagined it would ever become like this, given the nature of the industry. When I started out, the budgets of films used to be small. The budgets of films have grown over the years and there has always been jobs for a lot of us. There are at least 5-6 of us hired on a daily basis, mainly for songs. Leading actors, of course, have their personal stylists.”
The lack of savings and not being part of any association are also causes for concern. Hetal Sata said, “I feel trapped and don’t have any backup. I am also not a part of FWICE (Federation of Western India Cine Employees) and can’t claim any union benefits. I never thought it was important to join any mazdoor association because of the politics attached to it, and I was managing alright till last year. I had not got any work since January, and then from March the lockdowns began.”
She added, “We have cut down on our expenses and are sticking to the basics, but in a month, we will run out of that too. I spoke to my colleagues. They too are finding this phase difficult. I am only just hoping and praying that coronavirus is gone and that work starts normally.”
Hetal Satar is also not able to get access to rations, particularly those being given out by certain production houses. She explained, “I live in Mulund and not in the western suburbs, so even though many production houses are providing rations to those who are not part of any associations, I have no way of going all that way.”
Hetal is, however, hoping to get the attention of Bhojpuri star Ravi Kishan for some assistance. “He has been helping people on this side of the city, so I am trying to approach him. He has always been good to work with on the sets. I am hoping to get some help from Ravi ji. Otherwise, I don’t know how I will manage from mid-May. Never in my wildest dreams had I thought that the film industry would come to a dead halt for so long. The industry supports thousands of people and their families. We need to get back to work as soon as possible,” the hairdresser concluded.
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