Celebrities in Pakistan have joined their hands together demanding “RoyaltiesForArtists”, now a lot of Artists have given their opinion in support of this and there are always a few who like to speak their mind out say things how they perceive without coming under the pressure of current trend, Saniya Shamshad is one of them. We had an opportunity to pick her brain regarding this hot yet sensitive topic.
Saniya you have been off camera for a while now, do you miss being on screen ?
I never thought I would say this but yes, I miss the Reel life and all that goes behind the scenes.
Rumor says, a lot of artists are under payed and some never payed, what’s your opinion on this?
Haha, I’ll be opening up a can of worms if I get into the details of this but without going too much into it, to answer your question. I don’t agree with the under pay bit, a project gets offered to us and we accept it if our terms are accepted, of course not all conditions are accepted there always some negotiation room and finally we sign on the dotted line, like no one has got a gun to our head forcing us to accept the project. We do it at our own will so we can’t really complain about being under payed. If the money isn’t good than as an artist you shouldn’t pick up the project and if you do pick up the project because you really like the script than we shouldn’t be complaining about being under payed. Right ?
As far as never payed is concerned, yes there are a few production houses who actually owe me money till date. Can’t do much about it, so to answer your question YES “never paid” does happen and all artists should really do something about this so that this trend doesn’t continue.
#GiveRoyaltiesToArtists, what’s your take on this?
It’s a good initiative but I have a different opinion on this, it’s not as straight forward yes, all artists need to be given royalties.
Royalties starts off with the creators, when we use their IP (intellectual property) they need to be rewarded for it. When we talk about the plays the main IP is the story writer and everything is built upon that. The producers buy the IP, gets a team in place and the whole story is comes alive. Production house pays all the artists, director and the complete team in full first and the last one to make money out of this transaction is the production house, so they are the ones who are taking the maximum risk. What if the whole project doesn’t do well, where we are demanding for royalties at that time as artists will we go and tell the production house, sorry the project didn’t click so I will give you a discount off my fee? No, we won’t. It all about having your skin in the game. I am all up for royalties but then I feel it needs to be done in a fair way, as an artist we can charge a lower fee and opt in for royalties which I think is a fair play.
There are so many dramas, songs that get released but not everything is hit. We all know one thing that is, if a song / drama doesn’t click than no one will use it in future for anything and if your work is not used in future than where does the question of ROYALTIES go?
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Rumor has it that you are writing some scripts as well, is it true?
Yes, I am, insha allah you will hear about it soon.
Will you be back on screen?
Insha allah very soon, I am in Australia and because of travel restrictions I can’t come back to Pakistan, once things normalize you will see me back on screen insha allah.