Long schedules and no weekly offs during the shoot of different TV shows is taking a toll on TV actors health. Celebs like Arjun Bijlani from Ishq Mein Marjawan, Yesha Rugani from Muskaan, Paridhi Sharma from Patiala Babes, and Vivan Dsena from Shakti — Astitva Ke Ehsaas Ki among others have raised their voice against the lack of weekly offs and lamented about long working hours. For daily soaps, the actors are required to shoot at a stretch. Over the past few months, there have been several cases of artistes falling ill, and suffering from anxiety — all because of sheer exhaustion.
A year back, the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) had also decided to make every second Sunday a mandatory holiday, but that was never implemented. When Bombay Times got in touch with the actors this is what they had to say:
Vivian Dsena – Shakti — Astitva Ke Ehsaas Ki
It’s not us (actors), but more than us, there are workers who are lifting lights and heavy equipment the whole day. They come one hour before us and go an hour after us. Timings need to improve for them and they must get offs. Everybody has to come together and collectively find a solution. You can’t expect a revolution from one person. Apart from weekly offs, the working hours should also be reduced — we shouldn’t be shooting for more than eight-ten hours a day.
Tinaa Dattaa – Daayan
Apart from shooting for 12 hours, we also spend time commuting. Mumbai’s traffic and roads are really bad. In short, I don’t have a personal life. I can’t go to the gym, or even visit a doctor. There should be fixed shoot timings.
Harsh Rajput – Nazar
I have forgotten what a weekly off is like. We have round-the-clock shifts. We have to slog daily to meet telecast demands. Forget about weekends, we hardly get one day off (laughs!).”
Shashank Vyas – Roop — Mard Ka Naya Swaroop
As per our contract, we have fixed working hours of 12 hours. But to meet deadlines, we sometimes end up working for more than 12 hours. The human body can’t take on so much load. Also, I think that regular breaks are a must to increase efficiency and productivity. So, one should not work for more than 8-10 hours daily, and one day off per week is a must.
Yesha Rugani – Muskaan
I have not got an off for 30 days in a row. And every single day, I worked for 15 hours. I like to remain fit, but this hectic schedule doesn’t leave me with any time to exercise. I don’t even get time to go to the salon. We lose our health and with no holidays, it becomes difficult to function. It also affects our temperament. I am suffering from skin allergies, but I cannot undergo treatment, as that would mean not wearing make-up.
Arjun Bijlani – Ishq Mein Marjawan
My show ended last month, but I barely got any holidays. As per my contract, I was entitled to a weekly off on Sundays, but in the entire year I managed to get an off only on four Sundays. The remaining days, I worked for a few hours because of telecast issues. I didn’t get much time to spend with my family. My son would be asleep by the time I reached home. It’s high time the industry came up with a solution to this.
Paridhi Sharma – Patiala Babes
I am a working mom, and I feel that the entire industry should get a weekly off — it is essential to spend time with our loved ones and most importantly, rest. A year ago, CINTAA was planning to announce Sunday as a weekly off for the entire industry, but telecast issues and having no bank of episodes have not let that happen. My family is here — my in-laws and parents, who look after my child. Otherwise, it would have been impossible for me to work. Our industry should become as organised as the industries abroad. A weekly off will be a blessing for all.
Gaurav Chopraa – Aghori
If someone can manage to get us actors our weekly offs, it
will be a blessing. It’s the need of the hour, but the fact of the matter is,
the industry functions as per the telecast schedule, which is time-bound. In a
way, the service that we provide is supposed to reach the people with a
particular quality and at a particular time. If you understand that aspect,
then you realise that it all revolves around a time frame. Having said that,
you don’t get scripts on time, so execution can’t begin in advance, and
eventually, it becomes a race against time. And that leads to you shooting
seven days a week, 365 days a year and for more hours than required. It’s
common practice to shoot 15 hours when we are supposed to shoot only for 12
hours. It’s a part of the package and the responsibility of the lead actor. It
is physically and emotionally taxing and takes away a lot from your life. But I
don’t see a weekly off becoming a reality for us in the near future.
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