Is it right on the part of TV stars to play hard to get for the same producers who give them a break and up their prices? We speak to a few producers, directors and actors to get their views for the Trade Debate in Blockbuster this week

By Manishaa R

T.P. Aggarwal- F.F.I and IMPPA President, Producer and Publisher:  
You cannot blame the actor if he or she asks for a rise which he or she feels is legitimately due to him or her once he or she acts in say 104 episodes as per the contract that he or she has signed with the producer. It is only right and fair that they expect the producers to also give their salary a hike if they in turn get a hike from the channels. Isn’t it? After all, taali dono hathonse bajni chahiye. Hai Na? The producers of TV serials should not think of making a profit at the cost of the poor actors. If the producer gets a hike from the channel, he should automatically pass on a part of the hike to the actors of the show too.
Why should an actor not insist on a good pay packet for himself after having slogged for years without being paid adequately? I have been acting right from the days when Mahabharat was on air. We were paid less and the episodes were telecast weekly then but today with money at their disposal both the channels and the producers can very well afford to pay the stars well. Today, if a particular producer does not want to pay what I deserve, I will not be part of the serial because besides the fact that there are several wannabe actors waiting in the wings to do that very role, the fact also remains that the system is such that I just cannot agree to do a serial for the sake of emotion for a pittance when I am getting many times more in the market just because the particular producer had given me a break, because after all, the producer is also getting paid by the channel adequately. Isn’t it?

SUMEET MITTAL, Producer, Diya Aur Baati, Punar Vivaah etc :  
The actor is more than ready to be a part of a serial which I am producing by agreeing to be paid Rs 1 lakh for a month to act in say 24 episodes but then the day the actor becomes popular by acting in my serial, he or she starts demanding a big price hike. Like it recently it happened with producer Benaifer Kohli and actress Shilpa Shinde, as far as Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai is concerned or with me and actor Gautam Gulati who walked out of my serial Diya Aur Baati which made him popular. I feel it is grossly unfair because as producers we take a big risk when we sign on an actor and quiet often there is no guarantee that the serial that we are producing will emerge popular and the channel will give us an extension. There are times when the channel also axes a serial and we are back to Square One. The actors should realize this and cooperate with the producers instead of putting up huge demands which create holes in the pockets of the producers.

ANANG DESAI, Actor :  
Today I do not think that a newcomer would even dare to demand a hike from the producer who gives him a break on TV. The remuneration that a producer pays to the actor depends from actor to actor. It is only established actors who demand a certain price. Right now the only serial in which I am working is Tamanna because my track in Chidiya Ghar is over. I am of the opinion that an actor should not be exploited by the producer since in any case the producer gets paid by the channel. We actors quote a reasonable amount as our remuneration to the producers which they do not mind at all paying us when they contact us to play a part in their serials.
Today it is the TV channels and producers who are responsible for the sad state of affairs. I do not agree that the wannabe actors who charge just a lakh of rupees for a whole month will have the guts to demand that they should be paid more, especially because most of them do not have the practical experience in TV, theatre or films and not many eventually turn out to be stars. This was not the case earlier with actors like Satish Shah or myself who have lasted for all these years. Today when TV is no longer recycling actors but trying to audition newbies in Aram Nagar because the producers and channels want to pay them dirt cheap prices, what is wrong if an actor of substance like Ram Kapoor or Ronit Roy demand their price?
I think it is a boon for rank newcomers if producers make them work by charging a meagre amount per episiode on a monthly basis, because instead of wasting their money to learn acting from acting classes, at least they get paid to learn acting. To be fair to actors, they should be paid reasonably and not exploited. Though I have acted in quite a number of serials like Mera Naam Karega Roshan, Prithviraj Chavan, Iss Pyar ko Kya Naam Doon, Khoobsoorat and now Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai Pyar Kya Karein, today I am ready to discuss with the producers about my price if they feel that what I quote is not reasonable.
RAKESH BEDI, Actor :  
The price that an actor charges today for acting in shows is entirely TRP driven. If you are successful, you can demand a price for yourself provided it is reasonable. You cannot start charging an unreasonable price, just because your show becomes a hit and you find yourself successful overnight all of a sudden. Since success is very temporary , you should only quote what you really feel you deserve and you will get what you demand but then you should make sure that you have the market. No actor, including me, can presume he is the solo driver of any show. On the flip side, the producers should realise that quite often an actor becomes a spent force after doing two or three serials these days because new comers emerge every day.



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