Respite for Bollywood and TV industry as strike called off

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty smiles during a news conference to announce the launch of "Bigg Boss" season 2 show on Colors television channel in Mumbai August 6, 2008, file photo. REUTERS/Manav Manglani

Mumbai (Reuters) A three day strike that almost brought Bollywood to a standstill and drew out the unstructured nature of the world’s biggest film industry, came to an end today, with more than 100,000 workers and junior artistes returning to the studios.

An MoU was signed between the striking Federation of Western Indian Cine Employees and four producers’ bodies late Friday night, where the producers promised to pay wages on time and eliminate middlemen while hiring extras for films.

“We are satisfied with the outcome,” Dharmesh Tiwari, general secretary of the FWICE told Reuters.

The strike, which affected India’s booming television industry the most, has left most channels gasping for time. Analysts said many serials were running behind schedule.

Reality show ‘Bigg Boss’, which is hosted by actress Shilpa Shetty, could not shoot its elimination round episode on Friday morning due to the strike, disrupting schedules.

Movie stars, including Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan, as well as dancers, writers and technicians heeded a call on Wednesday for an indefinite “non-cooperation” protest in Mumbai.

Producers expressed happiness that the strike was over, but admitted the incident also brought out the unorganised nature of Bollywood, which produces the largest number of films in a year.

“The cine artists have only one umbrella body whereas the producers have as many four associations to represent them. There is hardly any unity and structure in the industry and that is why we are faced with such problems. The good thing about this strike is that we (producers) have realised that we need to present a united front,” T P Agarwal of IMPAA, a producers body, told Reuters.

“We will now form a core body which will take care of all such problems,” he added.