Sanjay Leela Bhansali has not paid daily wage workers on Sawariya sets
Sanjay Leela Bhansali is currently busy with the shooting of his next film Sawariya. The film stars newcomers Ranbir Kapoor, son of Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh and the female star is Sonam, daughter of Anil Kapoor. The film is being touted as a love story and is the launch pad for these debutantes. Unfortunately, recently while shooting many of the daily wage labourers working on the sets of this film have not been given their daily compensation.
The workers belonging to an Allied Mazdoor Union have been working on Bhansali’s sets since April in Karjat. These workers make their living through daily wages. The workers belonging to an organized union protested for not being paid since 22 April. Later some of the workers were paid for a few days, after the intervention of the vice chairman of the Union. In spite of this the workers were only given wages till 30 April, while the remaining wages for the month of May was held back. Workers were also being threatened if they complained about the situation or spoke about it to anyone. One of the workers said “This is nothing new. Often middlemen eat up our money and if we protest they threaten to fire us.”
Earlier on for Bhansali’s film Black too, daily wage workers were not paid their dues according to the stipulated procedure of daily payment. The workers were only paid after six months. However the workers were completely supported by Black actor Amitabh Bachchan in their struggle. Senior Vice chairman of the union, Prem Singh says “The workers were not paid even during Black. It took six months to get the payment of Rs 36 lakhs. This has become a regular occurrence. How will these poor people survive?” These daily wage workers make a living from daily wages and if they are not paid for days or even months, they may face serious problems.
Art Director Somnath Lohar overseeing such issues on the sets says “We have already made part payment and the rest will follow.” Bhansali being a highly respected director should refrain from getting into the same controversy time and again. He needs to look into this matter and get it sorted out once and for all; he needs to take as much care of these workers, as he takes of his actors and actresses in his films. Sawariya is a musical love story that oozes with innocence. The film also stars Rani Mukherjee, Bhansali’s favourite muse.