I put not only India but the land that gave birth to the Father of Indian Cinema, Shri Dadasaheb Phalke proud. A man of impeccable integrity and honesty he leads a spartan life and despite his achieving rare feats he remains an UNSUNG HERO.
My feature length documentary LIVING ON THE EDGE-Deglamorizing Bollywood has already been bestowed with 259 International awards and accolades in over 30 countries across the world, a feat that is perhaps not surpassed by any other documentary. It has been acclaimed by critics all over the world. It also led to the adoption of his resolution regarding HEALTH & SAFETY global code for workforce of Bollywood
Author of several books on National and International Cinema, my voluminous book 'The Missing 3 in Bollywood-Safety, Security, Shelter" penned by him was released by an eminent retired Justice. Kochar, who also wrote its preface. Being one of its kind it has been acclaimed all over the world. In 2018 he was conferred with DADASAHEB PHALKE AWARDby Dadasaheb Phalke Film Foundation. In 2019 I was given the NATIONAL EXECELLENCE AWARD by World Book of Records, London which also honored him for matchless contribution in generating awareness through his award-winning documentary. For this feat I was honored by World Book of Awards, London.
I haved represented India as a member of International Jury of International Film Festivals besides serving as a panelist on national and international seminars and conventions. I was part of the campaign to launch the first ever International Festival of Documentary, short and animation films in Mumbai in 1990. I was part of Indian film delegation to several International Film Festivals. Diploma in German language by SCD College at a very young age. Subsequently I also did certificate course in Spanish language.
I have been instrumental in providing better living conditions and environment for technicians and craftsmen and access to professional training for upgrading their knowledge and skills. He has the unique distinction of heading various unions in Mumbai entertainment industry. He has represented the workers and was the member of World Executive Committee of non-political body representing 144 countries
SINCE ALL MY SINGLE HANDED EEFORTS DURING THE LAST THREE DECADES DID NOT HEAR THE DESIRED RESULTS, THE DOCUMENTARY WAS A RESULT, OUTCOME OF MY ANGEST, ANGER SO THAT THE WORLD, INCLUDING MY OWN COUNTRY AND POWERS AT BOTH CENTRAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT COULD TAKE NOTE OF THE VOICE OF THE MILLIONS OF VOICELESS WORKFORCE OF THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY THAT IS LARGEST IN THE WORLD. The note below will articulate further my viewpoint.
modern welfare state is the one that ensures that its citizens are provided Safety, Security, and Shelter. Security of service and wages; better working conditions and access to highest attainable standard of health, contributing to living a life in dignity and well-being and above all affordable housing- are the pre requisites to qualitative growth of a healthy society. Millions of workers and technicians engaged in various crafts of Cinema & Television industry continue to be deprived of any social and economic benefits as they are part of unorganized sector.
The spotlight and focus of the print media and now television has always been on stars. It is widely believed that the entertainment and media industry is now one of the fastest growing sectors in India. According to latest surveys and report, the Indian media &entertainment sectors revenue is on the brink of touching a staggering Rs. 130,000/- crore mark by end 2016 and can make a claim to become a global giant.
The corporate giants have acquired the same status as those of Hollywood studios. A nonprofessional will be tempted to believe that technicians should be reaping the benefits of this renaissance and laughing all the way to their banks. However, the wide chasm between affluent few and majority living in penury has to be seen to be believed. The workforce consisting of thousands of craftsmen and technicians, it seems, are not partners in the exponential growth. They have no access to any social security system. Long and uninterrupted working hours leading to fatigue, illness and in many cases hospitalization; frequent accidents on sets leading to premature death of Light men and stunt men; absence of basic medical facilities on sets and locations; lack of toilets, especially for women; unhealthy food made in unhygienic conditions; long delayed payment of wages, especially to daily wage earners; -stressful working conditions are all accepted as necessary evil.
Several Enquiry Committee reports since independence have made several recommendations regarding improvement of working conditions, social security and the need to upgrade knowledge by way of training. The exponential growth of the entertainment industry would not have been possible without the active participation of its workforce. They ought to be treated as equal partners in this growth. Lack of sustained agitation and media exposure has only allowed the focus to remain on glamour quotient. It’s time to shift it back to the backbone of the industry the workers and technicians. The documentary aims to draw the attention of all concerned to the plight of thousands of workers and technicians working in cinema and television industry.
It has already achieved the rare distinction of being accorded with 259International Awards & Accolades worldwide and perhaps sitting on the cusp of breaking all global records.
FIA (Federation of International Actors)
Shocking documentary by #Opender Chanana unveils dark side of Bollywood where film workers r treated like slaves and often pay with their lives
Health & safety expert, Swedish film sector
It was very touching! I almost cried when the actress told her story
General secretary, FIA (International Federation of Actors)
Really exposes the dark and stinking side of Bollywood. It’s frightening in a way because of the appalling conditions that many workers in the film industry have to work on daily basis.
Head, UNI MEI (representing 144 countries)
The documentary is shocking because it shows the level of misery in terms of workers exposed to threats in their daily life for safety on regular basis. The basic safety conditions are not met and this is a big concern for international community of film workers, for unions. With this documentary Opender has achieved one very important thing—to raise awareness among fellow colleagues , the unions but also wider circles about the extent to which daily life of workers is threatened which needs to be improved. I hope this impressive work is circulated widely to create awareness so that workers are ensured safe and decent working conditions.
FIM (Federation of International Musicians)
It was absolutely necessary to have this work because it is very moving and you can see the terrible conditions and should lead to change for better.
Make up artist
He showed very convincingly what the problems we are going through are. We really feel bad about the situation.
I could not believe it when I saw the documentary. Shot in tough conditions and without any advanced equipment. I congratulate him for his contribution all these years in the field of Health & Safety of workers and technicians in Bollywood.
The title says everything. The grit, the fear, the dangers lurking behind the paint, the glossy sets is very much evident in the documentary. What Opender has done is to show us what we are doing day in day out, not realizing that we are already heading for a calamity. We are actually fighting a nuclear war in the film and television and media because of the norms that are being flouted.
The documentary exposes the dark side of our film industry. Feel sad to see the treatment meted out by Production houses and Producers. I salute Opender for his courage in taking up this subject. It’s very heart touching and an eye opener.
Voice over Artist
Its heart wrenching and acquaints us with bitter truth behind this sugar coated industry. The voice of the lower rung of workforce is heard loudly and clearly.
Advocate (High Court)
The documentary brings out the inconvenient truth in the film industry. Hope it acts as a catalyst for much needed reforms!! Brilliant work, Mr. Chanana!!
SAVEENA BEDI SACHAR
Workmen for the soul of a work place. This film will be an eye opener for legislators and help in updating the law to suit the actual needs of the industry.
UNI Apro Regional Secretary
Congratulations for the recognition of your talent and the plights endured by the many unseen and unappreciated by the number of the Bollywood community. Well done and keep up the good work.
General Secretary, Bank of Baroda Employees Federation &
President, UNI Indian Liaison Council
Our heartiest congratulations! Your commitment has always reflected in your work. Accolades and recognition are also necessary although the work itself is truly self satisfying. Wishing you many more successes.
Chairman, CII (Confederation of Indian Industries) Punjab Council
Very well documented-a very relevant issue.
DHARAM SINGH SANDHU
Principal, SCD Government College, Ludhiana
Opender Chanana is one of the brightest alumni of SCD Government College, Ludhiana. LIVING ON THE EDGE…well documented and presented the workforce of Cinema Industry as never before.
Unit Head, PCTE Group of Institutes, Ludhiana
It was well received by the audience at SCD Government College as well as at PCTE Group of Institutes, Ludhiana. It was indeed a memorable day for me as we all at PCTE felt proud of your meaningful work. We are sure this wonderful documentary will get recognition all over the world.
Asst. Professor, Fashion Designing Department, PCTE
Your documentary was awesome. It had a great impact on me. I would like to be a part of your tem. Looking forward to your next documentary.
Well documented and really revealing the pathetic conditions of workers and artists of the film industry.
The documentary js a very bold initiative. It’s all a wasteland behind the curtains.
Policy Officer, UNI MEI
I’m pleased to hear that the health and safety situation of the sector is getting the attention through your documentary and that you are getting recognition for your work
Its overdue accolades. Will get now in abundance. You deserve it...
Professor, ColumbiaUniversity, New York, USA
“Deglamorizing Bollywood takes a hard look at the precarious networks of human labor that undergird the production of cinematic dreams. Mr. Chanana has painstakingly compiled testimonies from across the TV industry’s work hierarchies to make an urgent appeal for work safety and income security. We need to take his appeal very seriously”.
I was always at crossroad, my pursuit of study of cinema ever since its birth and my heading the craft unions. The later always overshadowed.
I also spent years, as being head of the CINE CLUB federation in western India which gave me the opportunity to study the works of great cinema.
Since I had no resources except all my reserves to endure me at this age, I went back for inspiration to the period when languages of cinema was invented and I realized the importance of close up, long shots and use of background score.
I happened to pen over 100 publications on National and International cinema.
With primitive equipment and no lights I redefined film making. The idea was not technic but the ability to touch the hearts and souls of cinema. All characters were never told beforehand any questions. They just poured their hearts out, crying and articulate. Rest was done on editing table.
Indian content providers for NETFLIX immediately on watching it signed a contract with me last March. However Netflix seems to be reluctant. Perhaps an actor in it talks about the foreign channels treating Indian workforce badly with their one sided contracts. I simply wanted to recover my investment and for this reason I did not respond to SEVERAL OTHER PLATFORMS.
I am praying and praying to recover my investment as all my resources have dried up.