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Cameramen unite against foreign technicians in Bollywood

Mumbai, Jan 27 Discontent is brewing in Bollywood over the gradual entry of foreigners without work permits into key filmmaking activities. Not only actors but technicians from all over the world are also visible in sizable numbers.

Sunday, January 27, 2008 | 8:17:33 AM IST (+05:30 GMT)
 0 Comments | 545 Views | Copyright: IANS

Mumbai, Jan 27 (IANS) Discontent is brewing in Bollywood over the gradual entry of foreigners without work permits into key filmmaking activities. Not only actors but technicians from all over the world are also visible in sizable numbers.

Now the Western India Cinematographers' Association (WICA) has decided to take the lead and raise its voice against the trend of hiring foreign technicians in Bollywood without fulfilling the required formalities.

'When producers engage foreign cinematographers, they must get for them the mandatory memberships of the WICA,' noted cinematographer and WICA president Ashok Mehta told IANS.

Industry insiders are quick to point out that there are no opportunities for Indians to take part in any area of film shooting anywhere in the Western world, especially Hollywood, without valid work permits.

Mehta, a renowned cinematographer himself, is particularly peeved that even though Indian cinematographers are no less qualified than their foreign counterparts, they are never allowed to work on foreign productions, particularly in the US and Britain, in the lead capacity as director of photography.

'Our technicians are also invariably denied membership of their craft associations or societies,' Mehta added.

He said WICA in principle was not against foreign cinematographers working in Bollywood but they must obtain WICA membership before they take up assignments with Indian filmmakers.

Mehta revealed that the amount of monetary compensation foreign cinematographers working in Bollywood have to pay to the association would be decided on the basis of the number of shooting days and the nature of productions in which they are employed.

Foreign cinematographers are also being increasingly engaged to shoot advertisement commercials - an extremely growing and lucrative sector - for Indian products.

There are now about 50 girls of different nationalities from Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries who are frequently engaged for dance sequences and sizzling item numbers in films produced in Bollywood.

These girls reportedly neither have the requisite work permits nor are they members of any film industry craft associations. The producers who engage them do not bother to arrange for the work permits and union cards for them under the alibi that they are working on a 'temporary' basis.

It is also seldom disclosed how much foreigners working in Bollywood are paid and how much - if at all - they pay by way of taxes in India.


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