Bollywood: Yash Raj Films Boss, Aditya Chopra Launches ‘Saathi Initiative’ to Help Cinema Workers

Aditya Chopra, Chairman of Yash Raj Films, is launching the Saathi Initiative — which aims to provide financial support to thousands of film industry workers.

Chairman and Managing Director of Bollywood’s esteemed production house, Yash Raj Films will launch Saathi Initiative, to help up to 30,000 cinema industry workers.

As part of the initiative, the Yash Raj foundation will oversee “direct benefit transfers” of Rs 5000 (equivalent to £48) to women and senior citizens in the industry, as well as distribute “ration kits” to workers for a family of four for one month through their NGO partners Youth Feed India, Deadline reports.

Akshaye Widhani, Senior Vice President, Yash Raj Films explained: “The Yash Chopra Foundation is committed to constantly and relentlessly being a support system to the Hindi film industry and its workers who have been an integral part of our 50 year journey. The pandemic has pushed the backbone of our industry, the daily workers, to a breaking point and YRF wants to support as many workers and their families who are in need due to the loss of livelihood. Yash Chopra Saathi Initiative is aiming to provide support to the pandemic hit workers of our industry who we urgently need to focus on.”

The Bollywood industry is predominantly shuttered at present, as the country endures a devastating wave of coronavirus. Cases have been rising steadily since early March and yesterday, for the second time this year, the country reported more than 400,000 new daily cases of the disease, in addition to 3,982 deaths.

Last week, filmmaker Chopra wrote to local and national authorities asking if Yash Raj could purchase tens of thousands of vaccines to immunise industry workers. The company also said it would cover expenses relating to workers getting the vaccine.

The article also said a letter to the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), stated: “With the film industry going through an unprecedented time, there is an urgent need to restart at the earliest so that thousands of workers can start earning their livelihood again and protect their families.

“Yash Raj Films, through The Yash Chopra Foundation, would like to offer its support in this regard. We have sent a request to the Honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra to allocate and allow us to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for 30,000 registered workers, who are members of the film industry’s federation in Mumbai at the earliest.”

The production house added: “The Yash Chopra Foundation will bear all other costs too associated with vaccinating the workers such as raising awareness, transportation of workers and setting up of all the required infrastructure for the immunisation program. We hope our kind request is approved which will enable our members to be safe and also get them back to work at the earliest.”

The support can be applied for through a website set up for applications here: https://yashchoprafoundation.org/.