Despite a complete shutdown of work in the Hindi film industry, due to the presence of trade unions and the Producers’ Guild, daily wage workers have been taken care of. Besides huge donations pouring in from celebrities in the film industry, the Guild mobilized for direct donations to be made in kind for the daily wagers. But what happens to theatre artists? With not a single play held in close to three months, actors and technicians who primarily work in plays are struggling to stay afloat. In an attempt to help them by initiating a dialogue about their situation, Ali Fazal is backing an initiative that intends to build a database of theatre artists and technicians who are working in the Mumbai theatre industry. Currently struggling to make ends meet, more so, due to the absence of a union or a working body, the database will record details of actors and technicians working in the circuit and could require the necessary support.
Ever since his college days, Ali has always had a soft spot for performance arts. Upon finding out about the situation of theatre actors from his peers, Ali decided to help them out in whatever way he can. Ali is backing an independent initiative called theatre wale, which has put together a video raising awareness towards the plight of theatre actors in times of the current pandemic. The music for the video has been scored by Nishant Raja. It’s written by Amitosh Nagpal, who has also conceptualized the video with Maneesh Verma.
Speaking about it, Ali says, “It was important to talk about the situation of theatre actors at a time when the lockdown has gone on for almost 8 weeks. Amitosh Nagpal is the center point on all of this. I merely cane in from the stands. And thanks to him this reached me and hopefully many others. Most actors in the industry owe craft and learning to the theatre. And yet, there’s a step child-like treatment meted out to them. It’s important for us to stand up for our fraternity and stand by each other in these difficult times. Some known personalities are creating a database to help the technicians and crew members who have been rendered jobless due to the lockdown. The actors are still able to take the leap and be part of virtual performance shows. We need to make a start somewhere to help the theatre community and Theatrewale’s video is a great starting point for us. I hope more actors and filmmakers join in the initiative.”
Amitosh Nagpal added, “Artists love the world, and they love helping, kisi se bhi doosre ko help karne poocho toh response is ‘I’m in, I’m in, what can I do. Tell me ?’” is waqt jab unke kaam ke samne bhi andhera hai tab bhi vo sabke liye agey aa rahe hain. Lekin aise mein yeh bhi zaroori hai ki unki problems mein baaki log bhi saath khade dikhai dein.”