How Malayalam film sets shoot down gender justice

Most producers cite the short duration of engagement with staff as the reason for not being able to put in place a system to ensure their social security, the absence of which doubly hits the women. Photo: iStock

“You can find two categories of artists on a film set. One, who gets all their needs met on mere ask, and the other, who gets nothing. The former will never voice their opinion, let alone raise a complaint. For the same reason, they will always get work, because talent and skill have nothing to do with it,” says actor Maala Parvathy, who was in the latter category for the longest time.

“I realised that the more I protested on the sets, the fewer of my demands were met. It could be a dirty toilet or a shabby accommodation,” she says, sitting outside a dubbing studio at 10 pm, awaiting her turn, after a long day’s shoot in Calicut. “The remuneration is only a promise and the inclusion of your name in the film’s final credits is a hope.”

In an industry that has no defining standards for wages, working hours or even a workplace, which flouts the very basic......