For almost a year now, the cast and crew of ‘Hamari Bahu Silk’ (‘HBS’) have been fighting for their dues from the producers of the show. In fact, some members of the cast are finding it difficult to make ends meet since the industry has come to a standstill. One such actress is Vandana Vithlani, who essayed the role of Janki Joshi in ‘HBS’. She has started selling customised rakhis online. Vandana says that pending dues and the no-work phase have prompted her to do something creative, which also serves as an alternate source of income, no matter how little it is.

The actress shares, “I shot from May to October 2019, but have been paid only for the month of May. My dues run into lakhs of rupees. It’s been more than a year without any payment and I have exhausted all my savings. I had bagged a role in ‘Musakaan’ in November 2019, but it shut down in two months. I was paid for that show, but how long would it last? I have now started making rakhis and selling them online to keep myself engaged and also make some money. Obviously, I am not earning much, but anything is good at this point.”

She adds, “My husband, Vipul, is a theatre artiste, and he, too, is out of work owing to the pandemic. I had auditioned for shows in January, but everything came to a standstill. Our finances have taken a hit. We also have to manage our children’s school and college fees. I am just waiting for some project to come my way.”

Earlier, in an exclusive interview with BT, Zaan Khan, who played the male lead on the show, had told us, “I have worked with many production houses, but have never been in a situation like this. We have been requesting the makers — Devyani Rale, Sudhanshu Tripathi and Jyoti Gupta — but in vain. For the past five-six months, we have been asking them to clear our dues. They assured us that they will, but are yet to do so. They have even stopped taking our calls now. Forget us, make-up artistes, junior actors and other technicians, who don’t make a lot of money, haven’t been paid either.”

“We started shooting for the show in April and it went on air in May. The first payment — for 15 days — was made after 100 days. We were under the impression that they would clear the dues since the show was doing well. They gave me a cheque last year, which bounced. We gave our everything to the show. I have shot for over 24 hours on several occasions. When we started asking for money, they threatened us and even told us that we were free to take any action against them. Unhone kaha police ke paas jao ya court mein. They claim that they have run into losses, which we don’t think is true. They have received their money from the channel. So far, we have got only seven percent of our dues. We are helpless and don’t know what to do in this situation,” he had told us then.

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