Bollywood actress, Richa Chadha in her recent blog raised the issue of lack of royalty or residuals in filmmaking in case a film does well. Sharing her own experience, she said that she was paid Rs 2.5 lakhs for both the parts of Bollywood cult movie, Gangs of Wasseypur. She added that the movie, which received much love and applause from all over and sustained its popularity for years, someone must have profited from that but she was not that person.
In her blogpost, titled ‘An unpopular opinion…” published on Friday, Richa touched upon a bagful of issues pertaining to Bollywood’s working style ranging from nepotism to sexism to no royalty. In her blog which started with a ode by late poet Sahir Ludhianvi dedicated to the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, she wrote, “Change is messy and uncomfortable, but not changing may be fatal. So why can’t actors be paid royalty? It is a small price to pay for the loss pf perpetual anonymity. Ditto for directors? Writers? I was paid Rupees 2,50,000 (two lacs fifty thousand) for ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’ both parts and that’s alright. Kashyap took a chance on me, and for that I am forever grateful. I didn’t even expect to be paid for a break like that. The film went on to become a cult hit. My continuing career is testament to that. However, someone somewhere must make money from a film’s continued popularity. If I am not wrong, again, (going by rules for residual payments in other film industries) even if I were to earn royalty of this film, (*if I worked under the SAG guidelines, I would get only be getting a small percentage, under different categories capped at a maximum of 6.2 percent).”
Highlighting the grim consequences of the absence of royalty system in the industry, she said that a lot of good artists, usually deprived of the profit share which was being eating up by another entity, fade away and land in destitution towards the end of their life journey.
She said, “Does it make sense that a huge star like Parveen Babi allegedly didn’t have enough money for her treatment in her final years? Ditto Hangal saab? Or that Bhagwan Dada lived in a chawl in his final years ? I am aware my desire to see all credited departments get their due in terms of royalty is the most unrealistic dream. It just will not happen, at least not in my life time. But since structures all around us are crumbling, perhaps we can build anew from the rubble. Am extolled man has said to turn adversity into opportunity. However, most have conveniently misunderstood this to mean ‘opportunism’. We have a chance. Let’s use this pause to evolve.”
Gangs of Wasseypur director, Anurag Kashyap backed her claims in a tweet on Sunday and said, She (Richa) is right. Most actors and crew got paid similar amounts or less and I had to forfeit my entire fees to make GOW. Funny thing is we still own 50% IPR on GOW and we have never seen a penny on it or know about it’s income. For the studio it’s still a flop.”
She is right. Most actors and crew got paid similar amounts or less and I had to forfeit my entire fees to make GOW. Funny thing is we still own 50%IPR on GOW and we have never seen a penny on it or know about it’s income. For the studio it’s still a flop. https://t.co/ciFLJROrr8— Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) July 19, 2020
He added, “Despite the film being seen the world over and playing on various OTT platform, according to them they haven’t made any money on a film that was made under 18 Cr. And then they actually Once few years back asked me to make a part 3.” In the tweet thread, he said, “Anyways that’s how most studios work here. Only studio that has consistently send us reports on the business of the films is/was UTV.”
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