The actresses working with minor characters in Dhallywood, generically known as extras, are a sorry lot with no recognition or rewards for the important service that they provide to the industry, said researcher Jayashri Sarkar at a seminar on Monday.
Jayashri made the observation based on research that she had conducted into the socioeconomic condition of these actresses under the supervision of Gitiara Nasreen, a professor of mass communication and journalism at Dhaka University.
The seminar, organised by Bangladesh Film Archive at its office in Dhaka, was attended by Gitiara Nasreen, film researcher Anupam Hayat, actress Mirana Zaman and actor Ilias Kanchan.
It was presided over by the archive’s director general Jahangir Hossain.
For the research, Jayashri Sarkar interviewed 25 ‘extra’ actresses to know about their work pattern, wages, status in the industry and so on.
‘The industry uses the derogatory term ‘extra’ for these people and it is also reflected in the way they are treated. They do not have regular works, regular income and any dignity,’ said Jayashri.
Almost 80 percent of the respondents said they do not get work on a regular basis and the pay that they receive is way below standard pay structures for such performers, she added.
‘A female extra receives Tk 300-500 per day for her appearance in a film. But jobs are scarce and so most of them are eventually forced to leave the industry,’ she said.
She further said these actresses are not even listed as artistes in the Bangladesh Film Actors’ Association and do not get any support or benefit from it.
Commenting on the research findings, other speakers at the seminar said these actresses deserve recognition.
‘There are instances in which a minor actor/actress has become a superstar in later years. The industry must give space to these people so that they can flourish as actors,’ said Mirana Zaman.
Anupam Hayat mentioned megastar Razzak and actress Rozina who he said started their career as extras. ‘We must honour all actors/actresses equally,’ he said.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Film