TV’s Primetime Entertainer Iqbal Khan On The Wage Crisis

I went to his house, threatened to take away his television set or chandelier: Iqbal Khan to a producer who delayed payment

With the television industry in the throes of near-bankruptcy, many television actors and technicians claim they are not being paid during this time of the lockdown. One television actor has committed suicide and another is in the hospital with no money to pay the bills.

Serial producers claim they have run out of funds.

One of television’s most successful actors Iqbal Khan spoke to me on the issue saying, “I’ve been in the television industry for twenty years and I’ve seen how cheaply producers behave when it comes to paying their artists. It’s all part of the game. Actors and technicians who work around the clock for 14-16 hours on one serial have no other source of income. When they’re told the producer has no money to pay them, where do they go?”

Iqbal feels the responsibility of paying the basic salary of actors and technicians should be taken up by the TV channels. “They’re the ones who can ensure that such a crisis does not occur. Otherwise the producers have their own monetary logistics. They actually begin to pay their cast and crew three months after the serial goes on air. Can you imagine how actors sustain their livelihood while they wait for the regular cash flow?”

Iqbal feels the actors are also to blame for their financial situation. “ They live beyond their means. They come from small towns and get carried away by the razzle-dazzle of Mumbai’s entertainment industry. They buy cars and homes they can’t afford. They have no family to go back to at home after the day’s shooting. They’ve no one to tell them the right thing to do.”

The actor who has regaled audiences in serials like Kahiin To Hoga and Kavyajanli says he has faced the non-payment issue only once, “A producer didn’t pay me for three months. I went to his house, threatened to take away his television set or chandelier.”

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