How safe is Bollywood?
A cameraman's recent injury on the sets of a film has put the spotlight firmly on the safety standards in the industry
Mohit Suri's film The Villain recently witnessed a mishap when a crane came crashing down on the film set. A cameraman was hurt and was rushed to the hospital. Thankfully, he only suffered a few bruises on his hand and was discharged soon after.
When HitList contacted Tanuj Garg, CEO, Balaji Motion Pictures, also the producer of the film, said it was an unfortunate incident. "The reasons are immaterial. What matters is our Director of Photography (DOP) Vishnu was immediately taken to the hospital," he says. Mohit Suri and action director Ejaz Gulab weren’t available for comment.
While accidents are bound to happen on the sets, HitList wonders how safe really are the workers on the sets? This brings us back to the question. An industry which is talking about hundreds of crores of rupees, how much of it is really dedicated to make sure that the people behind the camera are safe?
At a recent shoot, a technician lost his finger and was rendered unemployed while working on a cutting machine, but the production house didn’t pay him any damages; they only footed his medical bills. Similarly, a technician, who got injured while working on the sets of a blockbuster film that released last year, only had his medical expenses taken care of.
HitList spoke to a few people in the know.
Manohar Verma, action director
Safety standards are better today but there's scope for improvement. There's not enough security cover for the technicians and people too need to be more careful. Often, the equipment used is quite old. The Movie Stunts Artists Association should also work towards insuring all technicians.
Ganjeshwar Shrivastava, secretary, Film Studios Setting & Allied Mazdoor Union
There is an MOU between the union and federation of film producers, which mandates group insurance for the staff. But a mere MOU isn't enough: we have to run around to claim money every time a person is injured. This process has to be a lot smoother.
Vijay Kumar Arora, DOP
Nowadays, most of the sets are insured but individuals who risk their lives aren't. The insurance payments too vary depending on the producer. There is no security cover for the family of a technician losing his life owing to an injury