Mafia rules Film City, allege workers

July 21st, 2008 - 5:41 pm ICT by IANS  

By Jivraj Burman
Mumbai, July 21 (IANS) An emergency meeting of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) was called Monday to take stock of the safety of cine workers, who allege that some of the Film City staff are part of a local mafia. A section of the cine workers went on a flash strike at the Film City in the north-west suburb of Mumbai Sunday following an attack on one of their members by a private security guard at the state-run film complex earlier in the day.

It was decided at the meeting that a FWICE delegation would meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilas Rao Deshmukh and Culture Minister Ashok Chavan in order to urge them to introduce tighter security in Film City.

Sanjay Krishna Patil, joint managing director of the Maharashtra Film, Stage and Cultural Development Corporation, which manages Film City, says the safety of the workers is not the corporation’s responsibility.

“The Film City has its own security system, the safety of the cine workers working in the complex is the responsibility of the producers engaging them,” Patil told IANS.

“Our security only looks after the general safety of the film complex comprising 21 studio floors and editing rooms and a film processing laboratory. When we hire these out, we do not take responsibility for the safety of the people working there,” he said.

As producers of movies and TV serials build costly sets at Film City, they hire private security guards to ensure safety of their property. Besides, stars working there also bring in their own security guards.

It is one of these guards who allegedly beat up a cine worker Sunday that resulted in over 1,000 workers present at Film City going on a flash strike.

Some of them alleged that there was a mafia ruling the roost in the Film City these days. Talking to IANS, they blamed a man identified only as Shinde, who takes a cut from the daily wage earners, they alleged.

“Even producers engage these workers only after he okays them. His writ reigns supreme inside the complex,” informed the workers, who wanted to be unidentified.

They also alleged that some of the Film City staff are hand-in-glove with this mafia.

Patil, however, denied the existence of a mafia in the Film City complex.

“Nobody has lodged any complaint with us so far. If somebody comes forward and gives us a written complaint, we will certainly look into the matter,” he said.

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