Online petition demands better lives for Animation & VFX artists in India

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Overload of work, overtime, lack of recognition, less salary and deprivation of credits in the VFX and Animation industry in India has finally given way to an Online Petition in the form of a letter filed to Smriti Irani, Minister of Human Resource Development in India.

The petition was created 4 days ago by Manish Makhija, who works as a FX TD at Contiloe Entertainment. It was filed on the online platform of Change.org and has already garnered 2,772 supporters in this short time  span and increasing by the hour to reach the final mark of 5,000.

So, what is this petition all about? What does it aim at? What does it want to change?

India is a budding platform in terms of the Animation and VFX industry and has till date contributed commendable projects in both these industries. Films like Baahubali, Delhi Safari, Chaar Sahibzaade, Roar and many more visually enchanting projects have changed the face of cinema in India with special/practical effects and animated characters. But, what goes in making of these works is often hidden! And this petition has unleashed the wrath and anxiety that artists in India have faced, are currently facing and will face if the system is not changed!

The petition reverberates the plea of freshers and mid-level artists, who are responsible for most of the work in the VFX and animation industry. As this industry demands tight deadlines, most of the artists work overtime frequently and do not receive monetary and practical privileges for it. The artists put in those extra hours – time and again – but are not paid for it. They are bound by deadlines that are often tough to meet and also demand a sacrifice of their social and family life. Also, in India, most of the artists are on board on project/contract basis and thus are bound to comply and accept tasks assigned to them without having any say or opinion whatsoever.

However, there is always a flipside of every coin, so there is another side of the VFX and animation industry, which is far better and brighter. In some cases, the artists are content with this industry as they are given all the privileges and leeway in terms of overtime, deserving monetary returns and recognition. In fact, artists also appreciate the industry in India for providing a space for budding talent and a platform where they can experiment with their skills and also take home a deserving amount.

‘Freedom of Speech’ is our democratic right and this small effort by Manish has raised a few eyebrows among some of the industry folks, with lot of artists also commenting about their own grievances and opinions. It seems that the artists love what they do but not at the cost of their family and daily living. How effective will this petition be and will it even reach the ears of the Minister is a question. All we expect is a change, a change for betterment!

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