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The Eastern India Motion Picture Association (EIMPA), tonight said a token strike in studios across West Bengal will be observed on July 25 in protest against alleged disruption in outdoor shooting of films, including abroad. Alleging disruption of shooting by some members of Federation of Cine Technicians and Workers of Eastern lndia, EIMPA Chairman (Producers' Section) Krishna Narayan Daga told a press conference that many producer-directors had to cancel their outdoor shoots, even abroad, in recent times due to unreasonable demands of some federation members which caused loss of crores of rupees. "We hope to resolve the issue by meeting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is favaourably inclined towards the industry, and hope for a breakthrough," he said. However, if there is no change in the situation the token strike would be observed on July 25. "But we will not use any strongarm tactics to stop shoot of Bengali films outside the state or abroad," he added. The producers' body will, however, take legal means and ask its members to stop shooting in the state and in other parts of country if there was no change in situation, he added. Himanshu Dhanuka of Eskay Movies, one of the leading production houses in Tollygunj film industry, said that last month the production house's film 'Chalbaaz' was not allowed to be shot in the UK, where a 17-days' schedule had been planned with a cast and crew of 40 people, including 19 Federation technicians. Everyone of them had to fly back to lndia. This incurred a loss of around Rs one crore, he said alleging the production house was not being allowed to shoot in the state and elsewhere presently. There were many such instances in the past, Dhanuka and some other director-producers claimed. Directors' Association Secretary Bimal Dey alleged it was not kept in the loop about the Federation's demands and the move to cancel shoots in London and said it was the prerogative of director and producers to decide on the number of technicians for a shoot and whom to take from among the Guild card holders. Director's Guild senior member Ashok Viswanathan said "We understand the Federation has to protect the interests of technicians and we wish to work in harmony with technicians and director-producer and cast.
But the disruptions are unfortunate." The federation should also appreciate the compulsions faced by the producers-directors and the huge costs incurred in making a film, he said adding "We hope before July 25 there would be a solution in sight." A Federation official denying Eskay Movies charges said it did not follow the mandatory number of days' notice to Federation or EIMPA before travelling abroad for shooting. Neither did they take 19 technicians along with the unit for shooting abroad as decided in an MoU earlier. "We always protect the interest of technicians from Bengal," the official said. Dhanuka denied the Federation's claims and said Eskay Movies had given prior notice well in advance.
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