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Bollywood’s organised sections escaped impact, but daily wagers suffered

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demonetisation

Mumbai, Nov 4: Sections of the Indian film and television which did business through banking channels remained largely on track after the November 8, 2016, demonetisation. But Bollywood’s daily wagers — spot boys, lightmen, casual actors and other temps — continue to face its after-effects, say industry experts.

“Initially, our members faced a dearth of work, but that has settled down with time. It is those people who used to get daily conveyance of Rs 100 who are still facing issues,” Gangeshwarlal Shrivastava, General Secretary, Film Studio Setting and Allied Mazdoor Union, told IANS.

Instead of daily getting Rs 100 directly from the production team for conveyance, the workers are now paid collectively for around 15 days — which has affected their routine. “This is one aspect on which we have not been able to put pressure on producers because it doesn’t make sense to transfer 100 rupees every day,” said Shrivastava, on behalf of the 500 members of the organisation.

Ashoke Pandit, Vice President, Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association, said demonetisation was no demon to the film industry as it largely deals in cheques and digital transactions, instead of cash.

“The daily wages in many cases, were turned into weekly or half-monthly payments and were being done in cheques by many producers since corporatisation happened. Use of cash was negligible in film productions, perhaps only for ‘chai-naashta’… It’s not what the industry used to be 10 to 15 years ago,” Pandit contended.

Initially, demonetisation had spelt hard luck for Bollywood as movie buffs were reluctant to visit theatres — and were instead increasing “footfalls” at queues outside banks.

Farhan Akhtar’s “Rock On 2” failed despite the buzz around it, and the actor’s father had admitted that the film’s business “was obviously affected by demonetisation” after it was released just days after the decision was taken.

Some single screen theatres also shut down nationwide after the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were scrapped.

Gaurav Verma, Chief Revenue Officer of superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, said not all releases at that time bombed.

“The demonetisation announcement may have affected a few films, but we released ‘Dear Zindagi’ a few weeks after demonetisation and the film did well at the box office. And let’s not forget that just about eight weeks later, ‘Dangal’ came (on December 23) and became one of the biggest hits of all times,” Verma said.

The move gave a push to a much-needed culture of digital transactions in the film industry, especially from the consumers’ perspective, he said.

“The number of digital transactions for ticket bookings jumped to 50 to 60 per cent after demonetisation, and it turned easier for consumers to book tickets. Also, more digital transactions meant less manpower pressure, leading to a certain ease in business,” he said, adding that it was a positive step that the industry was marching towards becoming a more organised digital sector.

The immediate response of a host of film celebrities on demonetisation was that it was important to support what was “good for the nation” rather than seeing its short-term impact on films.

Read more…Small, medium firms were limping back when GST added to pain: Stakeholders

Minister of Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had last year said black money was not being used in films as it used to be earlier. He was confident that, with demonetisation, there would be more transparency in film funding, and as a result, good cinema would get a boost.

Television industry veteran J.D. Majethia says the TV world welcomed the demonetisation move. “Initially, like the whole nation faced an issue, even we faced it. But when it came to our payments, there was no problem as such, because in our production house, every employee, including the spot boy, is paid by cheque. Therefore, we did not face any major problem.”

Did any cost-cutting happen due to demonetisation?

“In television, finishing an episode shoot on time is one of the most important factors. Therefore, when it comes to unit members, we hire as per requirement. Cutting down on spot boys or lightmen does not bring a huge change in the budget if you have a huge set. But not finishing your shoot on time will surely affect the budget; so cost-cutting on unit members did not happen,” he said.

IANS

(Note Ban Series)

Cities

FIR lodged against Shia Waqf Board chief for hurting sentiments of Sunnis

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Mumbai, Dec 18 : An FIR has been registered at JJ Marg police station against Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board chief Waseem Rizvi by a Mumbai based organisation Raza Academy, for allegedly hurting religious statements of Sunni Muslims.

Earlier, the case was lodged against Rizvi on the basis of a complaint of the Sahaba Action Committee at Lucknow ‘s Chowk Police station.

In the complaint, the Sahaba Action Committee claimed that Rizvi had offended the members of Sunni sect of Islam by his remarks over their Caliphs.

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India

India retaliates after Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC in Poonch

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Pulwama encounter

Srinagar, Dec 18 : India is strongly retaliated after Pakistan Army resorted to heavy mortar shelling    along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.

Pakistan Army  violated ceasefire by indiscriminate firing with small arms, automatics, and mortars .The troops guarding the borderline retaliated and the  exchange of fire was continuing intermittently  when last reports came in. The unprovoked firing from Pakistan side began in the evening.

On December 12, an encounter broke out between militants and security forces in Sopore area.

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World

US pullout from INF Treaty may ruin arms control system: Putin

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Putin

Moscow, Dec 18 Russia will have to take additional measures to boost its security if the US withdraws from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

US withdrawal from the INF Treaty may ruin the entire arms control system, said the Russian President.

“Such a step will have the most negative consequences, and will noticeably weaken regional and global security,” Putin said while speaking at an extended meeting of the Russian Defence Ministry board, Xinhua news agency reported.

“In fact, in the long term, the talk is about the degradation and even collapse of the entire arms control architecture and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” he added.

For a long time, the US has been using unsubstantiated accusations that Russia had violated its obligations under the treaty as a pretext to withdraw from it unilaterally, thus violating the treaty itself, Putin said.

He agreed that the INF Treaty did not involve other countries which have medium and shorter range missiles.

“But what prevents us from starting negotiations on their accession to the current agreement, or starting to discuss the parameters of a new treaty?” Putin said.

The treaty, in modern conditions, plays the role of a stabilising factor, which allows maintaining a certain level of predictability and restraint in the military sphere, he said.

He recalled that the INF Treaty signed in 1987 involved the elimination of medium-range and shorter-range (500-5,000 km) ground-based missiles. At the time, the USSR had no other missiles, while the US had sea-based and air-launched missiles.

Russia, since the signing of the treaty, has developed sea-based and air-launched missiles, which was the cause for Washington’s concern, Putin said.

According to Putin, it will not be difficult for Russia, if necessary, to create appropriate land-based systems as a response to the US withdrawal from the INF.

However, Russia is always open to any proposals and initiatives that lead to the strengthening of universal security including the prevention of a new arms race in the interests not only of Russia, but of the US and the whole world, Putin said.

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