Srinagar: Senior artistes of Doordarshan Kendra, Srinagar, have expressed serious concern over the “continued degradation” of programming on the channel as it has been running 10-year-old programmes rather than issuing fresh empanelment in favour of local producers.
With programmes at least a decade old, Doordarshan is presently running dry on content, although there is ample talent to draw on, if considered, and old shows need not be repeated.
“Doordarshan apparently refuses to make any new content. We approached the higher ups many times, but they only said ‘we are facing shortage of budget and that is why we are forced to run the old dramas. Once all this is settled, we will start making new dramas’,” said A-grade artiste Muhammad Aslam Ganai.
Around 600 artistes have been utterly jobless for many years now and are still facing many problems.
“We too have families, we too need to take care of the education of our children, we are the ones who made this Doordarshan, and today the same organisation does not provide us jobs. We have met every possible authority and minister to address our troubles, but hardly anything has been done to help us,” Ganai added.
Many of Kashmir’s television artists wear not only an actor’s hat but are also producers and directors as well. The actor’s craft is dying day by day for those in the field find no work, either in the government sector or in the private. Many connected with theatre are consequently in depression, Ganai says, adding further, “Wherever we go, we have only this skill; we don’t have any other source of income.”
If Kashmir has artists like Aslam Ganai, who has waged a fight with the system and wants art to take precedence over official rivalry, there are many others who have understood that being an artist here is not a good option for survival. As such, working with Doordarshan has been a part-time choice for them.
One such artist is Tanveer Ahmad. Tanveer began work with Doordarshan as a child artiste, but over time the illusion of the possibility of being an actor in Kashmir vanished, and he started his own business.
“There is so much lobbying that it is hard to get projects; the work culture they provide isn’t what the artiste deserves. Dignity and respect along with proper reception of work is hard to get here. A lot of this mess seems to have taken over the Srinagar Doordarshan,” he said
He added that the rejection of projects is not the only hurdle artists face; unpaid projects have lately been adding to their woes. The lives of artists in Kashmir have been pushed into oblivion on the pretext of lobbying and rivalry.
Speaking on grounds of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak with the media, a Doordarshan official said that when the broadcaster has a programme for local artistes, it will convey it, “and it’s up to the commission when they will start”.
He added, however, that no programmes have been commissioned for the last many years.