Producers take on ‘pregnancy clause’

Updated: Jun 30, 2011, 16:37 PM IST

Spicezee Bureau

Mumbai: While at one hand its celebration time in industry over Aishwarya’s “happy news”, there is an unprecedented sort of alarm amongst the producers of B- town. Buzz has it that Ash’s pregnancy news in Bollywood have made most producers think about implementing a certain ‘pregnancy clause’ in the contracts before starting off a project.

Reportedly, Ash was dropped from Madhur Bhandarkar’s upcoming film ‘Heroine’ for her being pregnant thereby jeopardizing the production as well as the capital infused in the film.

Insiders say that many filmmakers are now speaking to their lawyers about putting in clauses in the contracts to safeguard themselves in a similar scenario and others are reworking existing contracts with their leading ladies.

However, the practice is not the first of its kind. Back in 1993, Subhash Ghai made actress Madhuri Dixit sign such a contract during the making of ‘Khalnayak’, when she was in a romantic relationship with Sanjay Dutt. It was rumoured that the two might get married and the director feared that if Madhuri would get pregnant she would abandon the film half way, in the case of which, huge losses would have incurred.

Precisely, that’s the reason why Aishwarya`s pregnancy has rattled some producers. And, that they are now adding new clauses to the contracts for the leading ladies.

Here`s what the leading producers of Bollywood had to say about the issue:

Mahesh Bhatt: “Producers would be foolish to have such a contract suggesting such a clause. It`s the leading lady`s privilege to get pregnant. In B-Town the real contract is the unspoken one which has more weight. Being a member of the Film Producers Guild of India, I would refrain from this absurd exercise. Having said that, I will add that it`s the duty of the leading lady to see that she doesn`t jeopardise the entire film by pursuing her own personal goals thus causing immense hardship to the producer Smita Patil had got pregnant when I was directing ‘Thikana’ but she never treated herself like a Ming vase. She told me that when domestic helps can work when pregnant, why couldn`t she?”

Ekta Kapoor: “As a professional I can say all the proper things like yes, we should have a clause and way of compensating the producer but on the personal front as a woman I think it`s a big deal for a woman. Pregnancy is a very happy moment for any woman and I can`t think like a producer in such a situation. For a woman over 30, getting pregnant is a huge achievement and a moment of happiness. A producer can`t come in between. It`s like a wow moment for me! Having said that, in the future we will be working on adding the clause.”

Vipul Shah: “In B-Town, everyone is like a family. I don`t know how such a clause will be seen by stars. However, with more and more studio structures coming into film production I feel it will soon become a norm as long we don`t violate the privacy of artists because huge money is involved. Not just a clause for pregnant leading ladies but, I feel the Film Producers Guild has to play a much more active role in improving the conditions of producers like Hollywood has control over actors prices and the South industry bans actors who break their rules. Having such a clause or clauses for male and female actors will bring more discipline into the film industry. Anything that derails the process of shooting or leads to financial losses should be discussed and certain guidelines laid down preventing that. As no individual producer has a strong say in the matter, all producers should unite to improve the way we work.”