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Rakesh Dubey has been a spot-boy for the last 30 years. Talking about his work, Rakesh says, We spot boys are there on sets from the start to end. All of us are divided into different groups. While some take care of the cast and crew, others are responsible for the food served on sets. We also look at the lights and help with construction as well.
He continued, Spot boys manage to get work for some 15 odd days in a month. I’d earn around Rs 18,000-20,000 per month. With the coronavirus outbreak, production houses have suspended work, and now due to the lockdown, we are stuck at home without work. It is like a break that we don’t even want and can’t afford. I don’t know how we are going to manage. I have a family of three children and a wife. Whatever little savings I had managed, are fast dwindling.
Rakesh Dubey was not having it any easier even before the coronavirus outbreak. He had been struggling to make ends meet while waiting for the government’s resettlement plan for people whose houses were demolished for metro construction in Mumbai. He said, “Four years ago, my house was demolished for metro construction. Now I live in a small house on rent in Bandra. I pay Rs 10,000 as rent. So half my salary goes for rent. Now with no income whatsoever, I really don’t know how to manage everything. I was desperate for some cash, so I had called Harinder Sikka in Delhi. He helped me, but that’s all. But, it is okay. I can understand if people can’t help, but it is really important for me to start working again as that will be the right way to sustain.
Some production houses like Yash Raj Films and Rohit Shetty Films, and stars like Salman Khan, Ajay Devgn and Varun Dhawan among others have come forward to support daily wage workers and technicians. However, Dubey has not received any help as yet, not even ration. While some actors are transferring money directly to the workers’ bank accounts, some are sending ration and monitory help through Federation of Western Indian Cine Employees (FWICE). When we asked Dubey if he is a member of FWICE, he said, Yes, I am a member of FWICE, but I haven’t received any help yet. I have not received any money or ration, maybe because of the lockdown. I haven’t been able to go to our office in Goregaon East because there is no way I can travel there.
When we asked Rakesh Dubey if he received money from Salman Khan, the spot boy said, Yes, some people told me about it, but I haven’t received the money in my account. May be the process is still on, and I might get it. I have also filled some forms to ask for help, but I haven’t received any help. These are difficult days. I don’t know how to move forward, but I believe God will help.