A couple of days after his secretary’s suicide, we hear the news of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput committing suicide. A couple of weeks ago, Presksha Mehta, a short-time TV actor suicided. Tragic stories of many such actors with Bollywood dreams are heard more often these days. There are many similar devastating stories of known artists and technicians from the art and entertainment field that go unnoticed. Around millions of people dependent on this are jobless in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Hyderabad including other state film and theatre hubs. Then there are folk artists and classical dancers who have no jobs. Their situations are no less tragic.
This is not an advisory, but a feeling when I put myself into your shoes.
To all friends in the film, theatre, and entertainment professions, this is a suggestion. It might sound unsolicited, but let it be.
- You chose this profession knowing its uncertainty, but don’t take it personally. Life is uncertain itself. This has shaken almost all, people from many other industries are also suffering terribly.
- This new normal isn’t normal for many of you. To be realistic, the normalcy isn’t seemingly happening in another 4-5 months.
- Try to manage your expenses keeping an eye on your needs for another 6 months at least. Take care of your personal finance well. For some time from now, spend on basic needs only.
- Try to talk to people, write personal diaries, and seek help from others if you can. Many of you must be doing this. I am not writing other obvious things.
- Don’t be hesitant to negotiate with your flat owner in Mumbai. They survive only when you survive. Else, shift to an economical option.
- Some of you are waiting for payments from the producers, understandably they must be following up with the producer. And some of you are waiting for the unfinished production to start. However, there is no harm in doing something or the other to win.
- Struggling Actors and Other Professionals: Many young actors, who are struggling there to get a project, may go back to their respective homes for some time. There is hardly any scope for any shooting in the coming 3-4 months. There is of course some pre-production work going on right now. But that’s not going to solve the problems of many of you. So, if you don’t have any project, return back to your home town or villages for some months for 3-4 months. You can always come back and pursue your Bollywood dreams later. It’s always better to save your parents’ hard-earned money, particularly, when they don’t have it in abundance. There are other perks of staying with your own family members.
- Many of you are in drama or theatre. Some of you are actors or directors while some of you are technicians and other artists. A few of you are privileged to be fully employed and some of your work on a freelance basis. Those who are working on a freelance basis may opt for other modes of earnings for some time. For you as well, life is not going to return to normalcy in another 6 months to 1 year.
- And what is a life without cliches? So let’s actualise that cliche in life: “The world’s a stage and we are all actors.” So surviving during this situation of rigour is a great body of work in itself. Let’s play it.
People around the world have suffered many such devastating experiences. Yet, the fought with resilience and come out of the situation as winners. The Japanese did it after the 2nd World War. The Jews did it. We as a human race also did it many times in many situations. So, be a minimalist, manage your finance well, talk to people, and apply your wisdom.