If only the big stars actively participated in the union that represents cine artistes, we would get a lot more respect
Sushant Singh, General Secretary, CINTAA
Just like a country needs a good government at the helm, film industries around the world also need governing bodies to safeguard the interests of various professionals who keep the wheels of the industry turning.
The movement of forming an association for artists/actors started as early as 1939, when it was called the Film Artists’ Association of India. Since then, the association has been rechristened many times while many of its influential members have helped build a vision for the body.
The association was finally renamed Cine & TV Artists Association (CINTAA) in 1997, when it was decided that all artists, whether of the big screen or small, should have a union representing them. As I have mentioned earlier, the main objective of CINTAA is to safeguard the interest of artists, offer medical and financial aid to those who need it and evolve together for the betterment of the industry. There are many layers to how the association works, the struggles it has gone through and the hurdles it has overcome.
Just like any other job, the job of an artist is not limited to passion for their work; it is a livelihood for most. And hence, safeguarding their interests begins with putting finances in order. For many years, a lot of young and junior artistes have faced problems when it comes to payments, especially lower grade artistes, who are often not paid on time. The disparity in payment mode needs to be curbed as a priority.
Another massive problem is getting our members to take an active part in the union’s functioning and its affairs. In theory, the formation of such an association seems perfect for an industry like ours. However, the real work begins when the people for whom the association is formed take active part in it. Even though the biggest superstars are a part of CINTAA, not all of them are active members of the union. This demoralises the others!
After joining CINTAA, I could so easily have pointed a finger at the previous office bearers and accused them of not doing anything during their term. But the real problem is that CINTAA is not limited to 17 or 20 of us who work here. CINTAA has over 10,000 members and it is each and every person’s responsibility to make things happen properly for the union members.
Having faith in the functioning of the association is a must. While we claim to live in a united country, we don’t work in a united way and that paves way for problems to arise. Maybe some of this apathy stems from the fact that, over the years, the union has not given the artists reason to believe in it. But when a reform is promised or when a change emerges, we should stand united.
Another problem area we are tackling is helping the artists with legal issues. For an artiste, it is a must to have a specific hours of work; basic necessities like vanity vans or a green room should be given to them. Meals on set should be provided and they should be paid
Junior artists are often taken for a ride through their contracts. Most artists are free to call upon us and we help them fight for their rights. We take up these issues with the producers’ association and try to find a solution.
These are just a few of the problems that I know will get sorted with the right approach and faith in the association. Yes, many young artists find the association ‘old school’. This may be due to a lack of our presence in the digital space. But, we are taking bold steps to move with the times and will be launching a new website soon. We are also working on having CINTAA digitised for faster accessibility for the artists and for people at large who want to know how our union functions.
We are also connecting with old members of CINTAA so that they participate actively and inspire the new ones to have faith in the association. We are involving ourselves in CSR activities, which will help our members do good for society.
Changes will happen. They might not happen overnight or over a year. With dedicated work, faith and involvement of more members, we can overcome all our problems. There are many who look at associations like ours as a body that stops or disrupts work. But let me tell you, everyone in the industry is working hard to achieve success and shine. In the process, the rights of everyone should be respected too!