New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) Citing racial attacks on Indians in Australia, Bollywood's biggest labour union, Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), has banned its members from working Down Under.
"We prefer to call it a non-cooperation movement because we feel what is happening in Australia is painful and shameful. The Australian government is just not taking adequate steps to find the culprits. So being the head of FWICE, I planned to launch this movement," Dinesh Chaturvedi told IANS on phone from Mumbai.
The issue of racial attacks on Indians came to world attention late last month when a student, Sravan Kumar Theerthala, was left fighting for life after being stabbed with a screwdriver in Melbourne. After that nine more attacks have taken place on Indians in the country. The latest incident occurred Friday.
Popular Bollywood films like "Dil Chahta Hai", "Salaam Namaste", "Chak De! India" and "Heyy Baby" were shot in Australia.
But Bollywood now wants to take a tough stand and has united in raising its voice against the attacks. Recently, mega star Amitabh Bachchan rejected an honorary doctorate from a Brisbane university, in protest.
Chaturvedi says many producers and directors have decided to cooperate with FWICE's stand. "Producers are also cooperating with us and some have already postponed their shooting schedules."
However, there are those who believe the attacks should not be allowed to affect the Indian entertainment industry's ties with Australia.
"From my discussions with Indian film professionals, no filmmaker has cancelled any project in Australia," said Anupam Sharma, founder and director of Australian production house Films and Casting Temple.
"Filmmakers should see through the media hype and sensationalism. They should not cancel projects and let violent criminals win."
FWICE that comprises more than 270,000 members is, however, firm that it will terminate their ban only when the Australian government expedites its procedures and nails the culprits.
"Until and unless we get a positive response from the Australian government and the people responsible are punished, also till the time there is an apology from them for the attacks, we plan to continue with our stand," confirmed Chaturvedi.