Tunisha Sharma’s suicide case has brought the issue of mental health and strenuous working hours into the limelight once again. And Atrangii’s head of content and business strategy TV and OTT Nivedita Basu feels that this leads to a toxic working atmosphere.
She said, “Working for 14-16 hours a day is not healthy, especially in the field where we are in. For people like us, who work behind the camera, it is even more. I think it’s an initiative that the top-notch bosses and channel heads need to take. It should be contained but if they are the ones who are encouraging it then definitely the people below them can’t do anything but abide.”
Tunisha was found hanging in the washroom on the sets of her show on December 24. The police arrested her co-actor Sheezan Khan for allegedly abetting suicide the next day. Talking about the case, Nivedita said, “It was a very personal issue and it’s unfortunate that a suicide has taken a different turn and the innocent boy has been jailed for this. Both families are suffering. Unfortunately, it has taken a dramatic turn and god knows where it will go and when the sadnesses and traumas of the families will end.”
She feels lucky that her family has always been supportive, but wonders if others too have the same understanding. “That is not the case with 95 percent of the people working in the entertainment field,” she said, adding that even the corporate world has fixed working hours.
She stressed that though she has put in a lot of years of work in the industry, she would still appreciate a system where there is a fixed amount of working hours.
“It makes it healthier as you have time for other things. Actors spend days and nights on the sets and they don’t have an option but to be with their co-actors. They don’t get time to meet their other friends or be with other people,” she said.
She also feels that the presence of a counsellor on set can actually be helpful to everyone, from actors to directors, producers, assistant directors, cameramen, spot boys, etc.
“Counselling should be done in every field. Now I have realised that in every quarter whether it is on set or in production or in a corporate office, mental health insight should be given because you never know who is dealing with what,” Nivedita ended.