The situation is turning increasingly grim for the daily-wage workers with the suspension of shoots being extended to April 14. Knowing well that desperate times call for desperate measures, now the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) has knocked on the doors of Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan.
BN Tiwari, president, FWICE, tells mid-day that he shot off an email to Bachchan on March 25, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the 21-day nationwide lockdown. "In a crisis like this, we had to knock on his door for financial help because he is the legend of Hindi cinema. We have yet to receive a reply from Bachchanji, but we are certain that he will help us."
As soon as the cine bodies had called for the suspension of shoots on March 15, several prominent filmmakers joined forces to help those affected by the move. Now, Tiwari is hopeful that actors too will pledge their support. "We thought our fund would suffice [to tide over the difficult time], but now it seems difficult because of the extension. Once Bachchanji helps us, everybody will follow suit. We will approach many more celebrities for help. [Once they contribute], we will transfer the money to the workers."
BN Tiwari, FWICE
Their initial plan of distributing groceries has been put on hold. "We had bought ration worth Rs 25 lakh; we have kept it in the New Bombay godown. We will distribute it when the lockdown is lifted."
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