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Ekta Kapoor forgoes a year's salary, Netflix donates $1 mn, YRF sets up Rs1.5 crore fund

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a shutdown across India, and the film industry's biggest production houses are stepping up to help with the economic crisis faced by daily-wage earners.

Our Correspondent

With a countrywide lockdown in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the film industry, like many other sectors of the economy, is going through an upheaval. While several prominent artistes have stepped up with donations and financial support for the less privileged, production houses have also stepped in now. Two of the major production houses in Hindi cinema, Ekta Kapoor's Balaji Telefilms and Aditya Chopra's Yash Raj Films, made major announcements. 

Balaji Telefilms announced that Kapoor will forgo her annual income, which amounts to Rs2.5 crore. This money will be used to help freelances and daily-wage labourers employed by the production house.

The statement read, 'It is my first and foremost responsibility to take care of the various freelances and daily wage workers who work at Balaji Telefilms and who are going to suffer immense losses due to no shootings in the current scenario and uncertainty over the indefinite period to follow. 

Similarly, Yash Raj Films has promised Rs1.5 crore to help out daily-wage earners in the industry. Trade analyst Taran Adarsh shared a statement from the production house that stated that the production house will randomly select 3,000 daily-wage earners to receive a direct transfer of Rs5,000 each.

The workers will include 250 members from Mahila Kalakar Sangh, 250 members from Junior Artists Association, and 2500 members from Film Studios Setting and Allied Mazdoor Union. 

In addition, Netflix India has given $1 million to the Producers' Guild of India. Variety.com reported that the company donated the amount to a fund set up by the Guild and also committed up to four weeks' pay for daily-wage earners who were scheduled to work on their upcoming productions in India. 

The website quoted a Netflix spokesperson as saying, "We are grateful to be working with the Producers' Guild of India to support the hardest-hit workers in TV and film production — from electricians to carpenters, hair and makeup artists to spot boys. Crews in India have always been vital to Netflix’s success and now we want to do our part and help those who most need support in these unprecedented times."

According to Variety, Netflix had promised a total contribution of $100 million for the creative community across the world during the pandemic. Of these, $15 million were earmarked for third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief for out-of-work daily-wage earners. The donation of $1 million to the Producers' Guild of India is part of the $15 million.

The past week has seen several prominent artistes like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone step up to donate funds to help the government deal with the crisis.

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