Many without jobs as film production grinds to a halt

With film production on hold, many in the industry have little to do.

Bollywood makeup artist Arti Nayar - who has worked for more than a decade with stars such as Sonam Kapoor-Ahuja, Katrina Kaif and Alia Bhatt - said projects and events she was to work on this summer have been pushed back indefinitely because of the virus.

"The light boys, the people who look after your food, all of us are essentially daily-wage earners," Nayar said.

"So, when a shoot gets cancelled, it is going to hit us financially because you plan your life according to what you earn."

The Producers Guild of India (GUILD) has set up a relief fund for those paid per day - such as hairstylists, makeup artists and assistants working within technical departments.

Siddharth Roy Kapur, president of the GUILD, has urged members of the film fraternity to make contributions in an effort to "minimise the disruption in the lives of our valued colleagues and associates in this difficult time".

When it comes to recouping lost budgets, Nahta predicted that big names - both in front and behind the camera - may have to take a pay cut. He noted that fees for top stars take up the biggest chunk of the budget and are most likely to be targeted.

Industry veterans warn the steepest slump in years may lie ahead for Bollywood, as virus infections in Mumbai, the home of the Hindi movie industry, make up about a fifth of India's tally.

"Everything will have to be calculated after the lockdown ends and some form of normalcy returns," said Bhanushali.

For Sakshi Bhagat, whose dreams of becoming a filmmaker lured her to Mumbai in 2013 from the northern temple town of Varanasi, the lockdown has been a rude shock.

"It's been so difficult to get payments from production houses for work I did," said the assistant director. "No one wants to pay."

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