India’s Screenwriters Association Asks Members To Stop Work On U.S. Projects

EXCLUSIVE: India’s Screenwriters Association (SWA) has expressed support for the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike and asked its members to down tools on U.S. films and series. 

The SWA, the country’s major industry guild for writers with more than 57,000 members, emailed its membership on Thursday night to explain the WGA’s reasons for calling the strike and to state that the association “stands in complete solidarity with our 11,500 sisters and brothers of WGA.”

“We ask all SWA members working on U.S. shows and films to strengthen their protest by stopping work on those, and to not accept any new writing work from the companies in the US affiliated to AMPTP [Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers],” the SWA said in an email signed by SWA General Secretary Zaman Habib.

“If the WGA strike succeeds, it helps our efforts, by setting a precedent. After all, we shall be negotiating with the Indian subsidiaries of some of those companies,” the email continued.

When contacted by Deadline, Anjum Rajabali (Rajneeti, The Legend Of Bhagat Singh), a veteran screenwriter and SWA Executive Committee member, clarified that the association isn’t currently asking its members to stop work on shows produced by the Indian subsidiaries of companies such as Netflix, Disney and Amazon. 

But Rajabali said that Indian writers face even bigger issues than their counterparts in the U.S. As a result, the SWA is currently in the process of drafting a Minimum Basic Contract for its members and initiating negotiations with producers on standard clauses. However, as India lacks an industry-wide producers’ body such as the AMPTP to negotiate with, the association is holding talks with major producers one by one. 

In its email to members, the SWA said: “The challenges faced by Indian writers are even more acute. Grossly unfair contracts, no credit guarantee, undignified low fees (especially for new writers), one-sided termination clauses, impossible indemnity demands, no buy-back clause among others.”

Screenwriters guilds around the world – including the Writers Guild of Great Britain (WGGB), Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) and Australia Writers Guild (AWG) – have expressed solidarity with WGA members and asked their members to down tools on U.S. shows.


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