Suchismita Routray, a young camera assistant from Bollywood, has been out of work since last year’s coronavirus lockdown. With no means to an income in Mumbai, she went back to her hometown in Odisha’s Cuttack, where she is currently earning a livelihood by selling momos.
The pandemic majorly affected many small-time workers in the film and television industry. With the audience still wary of going to theatres, most film producers are still not investing in more projects.
Talking to India Today, Suchismita, who is 22 and has worked in the film industry for six years, spoke about how she was left with no help in Mumbai, until actors Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan intervened. “I didn’t have the money to return home. Thankfully Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan funded our entire crew to return to their respective hometowns,” she said.
Upon returning home, she began selling momos, the recipe for which she had learnt from her roommate in Mumbai. She earns ₹300-400 in a day from her stall in Cuttack’s Jhanjirimangala.
“I had lots of projects in hand to work with, even I was about to start a project in Mumbai before the pandemic broke out. Later, the situation deteriorated during the pandemic. Following the outbreak, as I was unable to find any new assignment, I had to return to my native place in February,” she said.
Apart from Salman and Amitabh, many other film stars such as Sonu Sood, Hrithik Roshan, and Rohit Shetty, had extended a helping hand towards their fellow Bollywood colleagues. Sonu even sent thousands of migrant workers back to their homes in buses, trains and on flights.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting allowed all film theatres to operate at full capacity. However, amid a new, steep rise in coronavirus cases in the country, the theatres have not recorded a considerable footfall.