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TOI: Actors sweat it out - Barun

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Posted: 10 April 2013 at 11:50pm | IP Logged

TV actors sweat it out with long work hours

Saloni Bhatia, TNN | Apr 11, 2013, 12.00 AM IST
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TV actors sweat it out with long work hours
Shamim Mannan and Jay Soni in a still from Sanskaar – Dharohar Apnon Ki
Fame comes at a price, at least for TV actors. Even though they're paid well, a common grouse is that they have to sweat it out too often thanks to the long work hours.This has driven many actors to even quit their shows. 'This is how the TV industry works, and there is nothing that can be done to sort this out', some say, who've come to terms with this work culture, but actor Barun Sobti, who recently quit 'Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon' for this very reason, doesn't take things lying down. He recently said, "There is a labour law in the country which allows you to work for 45 hours a week, but TV actors, specially the lead actors, on an average, work close to 84 hours a week. I think there should be strict labour laws in the country." But why such long hours when the duration of the episode that's finally aired is just 15-20 minutes? Here's what lawyers and the industrywallahs have to say. 

Labour laws don't cover TV actors
While Barun might be seeking stricter labour laws for TV actors, the fact is that they don't cover them. Says Anurag Tomar, a lawyer at the Supreme Court, "The Industrial Disputes Act doesn't cover TV actors. Drivers, skilled and unskilled labourers are covered under the act. TV actors and the producers don't share the relationship of an employee and employer. The actors work on a contractual basis and are not on the permanent payroll of the makers. If they have to sue the makers for any damages, they can do so under the civil law."

Hasan Anzar, lawyer at ANZ Lawz , a law firm in the capital, agrees, "In their case, the agreement or contract defines the relationship. The actors can approach civil courts for the addressal of their grievances provided their contracts don't mention the fact that they are required to put in these many hours at work,or for payment issues.These contracts are personal in nature."

With daily production there are bound to be issues
Industry people say that it's a case of 'what cannot be cured, must be endured.' Says Jay Soni, who's playing the lead in Sanskaar - Dharohar Apnon Ki, "At times, it so happens that there is an important twist in the show, and you have to spend long hours shooting for it. An actor usually spends 20 hours a day at work, with only four hours of sleep. Out of these 20 hours, 12 hours are reserved for shooting, around four hours go in commuting, and our job requires us to be fit, so we can't afford to miss the gym. But the industry functions on the mantra 'the show must go on'."

Shashi Mittal, producer of Diya Aur Baati Hum and Punar Vivah, says,"We have to churn out episodes daily. Writing, shooting... everything is going on simultaneously. There is nothing that can be done to solve this issue. The making of a TV show is just like a marriage where 100 people are involved in various things and there are bound to be issues."

Technology is to blame
While technology has made life easier for most of us, it has made the lives of TV actors tougher, as they have to shoot for the same scene from different angles. Ankit Gera, of Sapne Suhane Ladakpan Ke, explains, "Technology is also to blame. There are several angles which are taken for a single scene. Plus, if you have a mahaepisode that is airing on a weekend, then your entire bank of episodes gets over. There have been instances when for Monday's episode, we have shot on Sunday, and even in the morning of the day the actual episode has to be aired."

His views are endorsed by Pratyusha Banerjee, who recently quit Balika Vadhu owing to her mother's and her own ill health. "You don't have a personal life. Retakes, various camera angles and other things take up a lot of your time. And if there are special episodes, then automatically your shoot timings increase."

Lack of script bank 
"The lack of a script bank makes the job hectic. If the script bank is strong, the workload of every single person will be reduced. For any track, you have to get a go-ahead from the channel. This process involves a lot of meetings and to and fro. And there have been instances when you have to suddenly change tracks because your current track isn't getting you TRPs," informs Sudhir Sharma, producer of Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha.

The situation is getting better now
TV actors might be putting in long working hours, but people from the industry feel that the situation is actually improving. "Some time back, the situation on every TV set was really bad. Actors were shooting for 30 hours at a stretch. But when CINTAA (Cine and TV stars Association) passed a rule stating that no TV actor will work for more than 12 hours a day, the situation changed drastically," opines Sharma.

Contracts mention working hours
Industry insiders say that the contracts usually state that the actor has to put in 12 hours of work every day for the TV show,and that if they work extra, they will be paid overtime as well. The pressure on lead actors is more as compared to second leads or supporting actors as they are present in almost every second frame.

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Posted: 11 April 2013 at 1:50am | IP Logged
Smilethanks for sharing
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Posted: 11 April 2013 at 1:52am | IP Logged
Good article..
Thanks..!Smile
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Posted: 11 April 2013 at 2:01am | IP Logged
its an eye opener :)
tfs!

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Posted: 11 April 2013 at 2:08am | IP Logged
great article !! tfs ! :)
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Posted: 11 April 2013 at 2:08am | IP Logged
Tfs dear
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tfs...Wink
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