Lockdown blues: Bollywood dancers in Delhi left at wits' end, struggle to feed families, survive

By Sahil Pandey

New Delhi [India], May 18 (ANI): It's not only the migrant labourers who are bearing the brunt of COVID lockdown but Bollywood dancers in Delhi are also left at wits' end as social gatherings and shows are not permitted, sans which, they are unable to perform and earn their livelihood.

"Everyone is facing a problem. The government must understand that the artists who perform and entertain public help people in staying at their homes during the lockdown," Dance Choreographer Shankar Naidu told ANI here as the Country entered the fourth phase of lockdown from Monday.

"We have made a Facebook page to show our solidarity with the artists. Our biggest problem is that we are running short of money. Everything like groceries, other essentials can be purchased only if we have money in our wallets. We usually earn Rs 30,000 to 40,000 per month but now our source of income is jeopardised. We are feeding ourselves hand to mouth. Many have cancelled their marriages and other functions," rued Naidu.

He also requested the government to allow the shows and artists to perform. Adding that social distancing should be strictly complied with at such performances.

"We want to start the work following social distancing. There should be a stage where we can perform. People can see our performance from their balconies. We don't want financial help from the government. If we will perform then we will get some money and it will solve some of our problems," he added.

Another Delhi based Dance choreographer Sonu Kumar said, "No problem was there when the lockdown started because then we had money but now all of it had already been spent. The government must think about us."

With 18 years of experience in dance choreography, Vishal Rana echoed similar sentiments. "Many artists are struggling and now our savings are no more. What will happen to staff boys, band artists and other artists," he said.

A freelance dancer Rahul said that most of the artists depend only upon stage performances for their survival.

The Central government on Sunday extended the ongoing COVID-19 induced nation-wide lockdown till May 31, but with a set of new relaxations. According to lockdown guidelines all cinema halls, shopping malls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places, shall continue to remain closed throughout the country till 31st May. (ANI)