Senior Artistes To Stay At Home: Shabana Azmi, Hema Malini, Paresh Rawal Express Angst Against Govt Order

Mumbai: Bollywood has resumed shooting with restrictions and safety precautions amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, senior artistes, above the age of 65 have been advised to stay away from the sets as they fall into the vulnerable category.

Urging the government to reconsider the rules, senior actors Hema Malini (71), Shabana Azmi (69), and Paresh Rawal (65) have asked for an amendment to the SOPs for film shooting, reported Hindustan Times (HT).

On Friday, another TV and film veteran, Kanwaljit Singh (69) had expressed angst over being replaced by a younger actor in the TV show ‘Sandwich’.

“A small portion of Vikas Khanna’s untitled film has yet to be shot. What happens to these projects? Why should producers have to sign on younger artistes and make them sport grey hair? Why is this rule applied only to the film industry, and not politicians? Will they ensure that no leader above 65 will attend any political rally. They (technicians and artists involved in filmmaking) don’t run parallel businesses whereby they can make up their losses,” HT reported Shabana as saying in Mid Day.

The report added that Hema Malini has written a letter to Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla. Citing the examples of Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher and herself, Hema has said in the letter that these senior artistes “will be restricted from completing their previous and recurring projects,” said the report.

Quoting the tabloid, HT further reported Paresh Rawal as saying that while it is understood that the government’s measure comes as a safety aspect for senior artistes, the producers should ensure that sets have all the necessary safety measures.

Earlier, HT reported Kanwaljit Singh as telling the website Film Information that he was not happy with the decision to keep senior actors out of work right now and added, “So what do actors like me do? Hang up our boots? How can I be asked NOT to work? I have nothing against the new actor or the channel. But this rule needs to be changed. Otherwise, what will the hundreds of actors like me do? We are fond of working, we love our work, how can the government stop us? Will the authorities wake up when one senior actor, in depression for being out of work, commits suicide? Not every senior actor or unit member is well placed enough to tide over these difficult times by simply sitting at home, not working. Most of them need to work, some for financial reasons, others for the sheer love of work.”


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