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Learning English - Words in the News
01 October, 2008 - Published 13:57 GMT
Bollywood on strike
Mera Pind - a Punjabi family drama

All work in India's film and television industry hub of Bollywood has been stopped today as thousands of technicians and actors have gone on strike over pay and conditions. With more, here's our South Asia correspondent Damian Grammaticas:

Listen to the story

On the first day of this strike Bollywood has fallen silent. All productions in the world's busiest film hub have been halted. Everyone - from dancing girls to carpenters, lighting technicians to cameramen, soundmen to script writers - has downed tools.

Dinesh Chaturvedi, head of the Federation that represents 22 unions with over 147,000 members working in the film and television business said they'd decided to halt all co-operation with industry producers. He said union members, most of whom fill the lowest paid jobs, are protesting because of abysmal pay, long shifts that can often last for up to thirty six hours and unpaid wages that can be withheld for up to six months leaving workers on the verge of starvation.

It's television productions on tight schedules like reality shows that are being hit the hardest. But Sushma Shiromanee of the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association said employers were not panicking. They will meet to decide their response to the strike on Thursday, she said, but are prepared to hold out for months if necessary.

Damien Grammaticas, BBC News, Delhi

Listen to the words

fallen silent
if a place falls silent, there is no activity in it

film hub
centre of film production

downed tools
stopped working

abysmal pay
extremely little money they get for their work

not paid (when due)

on the verge of starvation
here, with not enough money to pay even for their food

on tight schedules
that are produced quickly (e.g. because they have to be broadcast on a particular day each week)

reality shows
television or radio shows that deal with real people in real situations. Reality shows range from those depicting police operations and emergency rescues to those in which people divorce, choose marriage partners, or actively deal with their personal problems on air (definition by MSN encarta)

hit the hardest
affected (in a negative way) the most

to hold out
to continue the strike

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