One cannot deny that the creative industry is quite mismanaged with proper regulations and rules not fully set in place. 

While it does help to keep the creativity going and not bind one to ‘corporate’ level systems, it can also lead to a lot of negligence of proper conduct and behaviour. 

This problem has come into the limelight with comedian and writer Abhishek Walia’s accusations against producers Preeti and Neeti Simoes for not paying him on time. 

Walia has talked about the issue on Facebook, Instagram and even mentioned it in a video of his standup show on YouTube. 

And it is slowly gaining more and more traction while also shedding light on how arbitrary the industry can be especially to the newcomers or those who don’t have as much influence. 

What Happened?

Abhishek Walia was a participant and eventual winner of the 2017 ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’ that was judged by Akshay Kumar. 

Walia posted about his experience with producers Neeti and Preeti Simoes while he was briefly employed to write for the show ‘Movie Masti With Manish Paul’.

Abhishek Walia यांनी वर पोस्ट केले शुक्रवार, १५ नोव्हेंबर, २०१९

In a lengthy Facebook post that was published on 15th November he recounted the entire issue. Apparently Walia was hired onto the show around 16th September with him officially starting on 18th September. 

The WhatsApp screenshots show how a salary amount was decided, Walia was added to the other WhatsApp group and shoot dates were shared with him. However, due to an excessive number of writers, Walia was told that “they would want to work with me on digital medium later on.”

Walia understood the situation and asked that he be compensated for the days that he had worked. Neeti Simoes shared the contact of their accountant and told Walia to get in touch with him. 

Everything seems fairly standard and correct till this point. But it is from here that things take a turn for the worse. 

First there was a problem with the amount that Walia had given to the accountant, and Neeti messaged him on how since his first day was a trial and there was a Sunday in between that his actual working days would be around 10 days instead of the earlier 12. 

Afterward things got even more twisted with the accountant claiming that he could transfer the amount only after Neeti returned to the country and Neeti for her part arguing about how much work Walia had done in his 10 days. 

As per the screenshots she claimed that none of his work had been used and so he wasn’t liable for any amount of salary. This was quite unethical frankly, since Walia was taken on board on a monthly system and not a ‘per script’ basis. 

She then went on to allegedly threaten him that if he went on social media about this issue, then she could also post about how Walia was supposedly harassing her because she was a woman. 

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Walia then posted a detailed version of the story in his standup show in Mumbai and whose video he put up on 20th November:

He then posted another update in regards to the case on his Instagram:

In this he relayed how police and authorities apparently tried to stop him from holding his standup show. 

He explained that,

“Finally, I decided to put a stand up to make it reach to as many people as possible. I put the date on social media to let people know about the stand up show and venue. The day before the shoot, I started getting threat calls from Mumbai police that I cannot shoot it and if I will then they will stop me. I got 3 calls from them in 12 hours.

One of which was at 6am in the morning. But I had to decided to shoot it anyhow. On the day of shoot, I was called to Tilak Nagar police station saying that they have a complaint against me. I went to meet the SHO who clearly said that ‘I can shoot my stand up and they have no right to stop me.’ May be, because he looked like an honest officer.

2 hours before the show, the case was transferred to Hari Nagar police station. Two constables came and took me and the venue owner to a police beat office. Where two guys, one of them called himself S.I. Amit and the other started abusing us the moment we stepped in and refused to talk to my lawyer or tell his badge number.

I told him that he has no right to stop me. So, he asked me to step out and then threatened the venue owner that they will shut it down if the show happens there. Obviously, owner got scared and requested me to not shoot the show. But I just didn’t want to give up. So, I secretly messaged every single person in my guest list to come to different venue two hours later to shoot it.”

But, the most incriminating and appalling thing in his post were the screenshots of Preeti Simoes and her replies to the people calling her out on some of her social media posts. 

Preeti recently posted about Trump and animal cruelty, to this some people replied how on one hand she was talking about this and on the other hand was doing cruelty to her own employees. 

She called the commenter names like ‘unpadh’ (illiterate), ‘machar’ (mosquito), ‘chirkut’ and more all the while bragging about her power and contacts.

The amount of attention this is getting is good to see since it brings out the injustice and wrong practices that many production houses feel they can get away without any harm. 

His video itself has gotten over 400,000 views and his other posts on social media are also quickly garnering attention in the form of hundreds of shares and comments. 

It is high time that such companies be put under the light and exposed for all unethical practices that they use where they take newcomers, get work done from them and then first fire them and on top of it all don’t even give them the compensation which is fully their right. 

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: Instagram, YouTube

Find the blogger @chirali_08

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