The Covid-19 pandemic has damaged our financial books, be it in the form of shops being closed or salary cuts, the blow on our pockets has been very severe. Among all the groups that have suffered the wrath of lockdown on their budgets, even artists are not spared from this list.
This situation has led artists to go to the extreme and committing acts which even had some severe repercussions. Crime Patrol actress, Preksha Mehta and Kuldeepak actor Manmeet Grewal went on to commit suicide as they faced the financial crunch. Recently, Ayushmann Khurana starrer, Dream Girl’s co-actor, Solanki Diwakar, was seen selling mangoes in Bandra, Mumbai. Sasural Simar Ka actor, Ashiesh Roy had to get himself discharged himself from a hospital he was admitted in as he found himself unable to bore the heavy cost of treatment. Another actor, namely Rajesh Kareer who features in blockbuster movies like Mangal Pandey and Agneepath 2 has uploaded a video on Facebook as he asked people for money so that they could return to his domicile in Punjab where he can get some work and earn his living.
While all this example is enough to chill your spine and make you understand the harsh reality of the so-called glamorous of our stars but they all form a part of the mainstream artistic industry. There remains a large section of artists who have faced similar difficulties during the ongoing pandemic.
European nations were seen acknowledging this fact as many of these countries came up with bailout packages to anchor the artists but the Indian government has not paid the necessary heed to this sector as there were no provisions or relief funds for the artist stranded in this lockdown in the so hailed landmark Rs 20 lakh crore relief package that has been previously announced by the Indian government and particularly, the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman.
In a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry meet previously, Sanjoy Roy, President, Event and Entertainment Management Association was questioned on why the artists needed relief packages and financial bailouts when instead they should be donating the amount to the Indian government relief fund. Reportedly, Sanjay replying to the question said that “not every artiste is a Shah Rukh Khan or Sonu Nigam, millions languish in obscurity, from the Bauls, Manganiyars, patchier a painters, craftsmen, and puppeteers, among others. In rural India, families are dependent on the arts and crafts as primary means of livelihood, and as a secondary mode of income, especially in the agrarian communities. Like the Adivasis in Odisha’s Sadeibareni village who make and sell dokra (bell metal) art in between the two paddy-harvest seasons.”