I have been doing theatre with many amateur and professional groups. Amateur theatre groups don’t pay to artists and in most of professional groups, they pay something to actors, a little to backstage helpers, and nothing to volunteers. I worked many times for amateur theatre groups without payment.
When I was in SAMVET (1999-2001), I was paid 50/- (fifty rupees) that was the first-time I earned money from acting. It was from a show we did for someone’s birthday party, and the group was given 1000/- only. Everyone contributed their share for the group but I didn’t. My share was 50/- that I took it shamelessly.
NKN was a huge group, well administered organization, but artists who were not members, were not paid. I had a little experience in Vivechana, I did only ‘Hamsa Kar Lay Kilol’ with them, ‘Tum Nirbhay Jyo Surya Gagan Mein’ also I wanted to do. There in Jabalpur, I started dancing in local albums and so my journey as actor-on-camera started (2006-07) though, my recordings of Juloos (I did with Samvet in Balaghat) were telecasted in local channels (2000-01).
In Mumbai, it was AVIKAL that made me realized the respect of being an artist. Here artists were given conveyance for rehearsals (though just initially) and payment after shows.
I constructed myself in Samvet and Avikal, while in NKN and Vivechna, I enjoyed the time. Days with Natya Kala Parishad (Balaghat) and Shabd (Mumbai) were useless, I don’t even count them. Yeah, with Star ACT, I did ‘Andhere Mein’ was an achievement for me same like ‘Juloos’ with Samvet and ‘Dulari Dhamal’ with Avikal.
Theatre is still not considered a good medium for earning though some actors and groups are flourishing through commercial plays, especially in Gujrati, English and Marathi. A theatre artist has no secured life, and he has to be depending on tv-&-movies for fame and money.
Few days ago I did a small shoot for a friend’s project, he was making a short film over health awareness. I was told that it would be non-paid project and if the client likes the film only then there would be some amount to be given. I had no hope for payment, and I did the shoot because they are my friends. My character was too small, almost unnoticeable, but I did.
Today I was paid. Can you guess how much I was paid?
Yes. One hundred and one rupees.
I’m not sad. I’m happy.
It’s lowest payment ever I got through acting but I’m happy because my friends are honest. They remembered me when they needed actor, they were hesitant that I wouldn’t do the act but I did, they paid me too.
No matter how much I was paid, matters they paid me while the project was not profitable and it was done with very basic equipments.
When I was paid, I didn’t understand what was that. I had almost forgot about the shoot and I had no hope to get paid.
I was paid, a very little, little amount, but it was for acting on camera. I’m thankful for all camera, stage, streets too (never got any movie so far) but my first choice is always stage and theatre.
If I could earn enough from theatre, I would continue it for life. Theatre has always been first in priority of any actor who ever been in theatre. Tv and movies are always secondary choice for artists. Theatre is where an actor can express himself, live and die completely without regretting.
01:48 am Wednesday
27th of July 2016