From makeup artistes and hair stylists to dancers and junior actors, the Indian film industry seems to be increasingly banking on foreign talent -- a trend common in sectors like telecom and information technology.
But film artiste unions claim that the trend is depriving eligible Indian nationals of job opportunities in the domestic film industry and that too at a time when Bollywood is struggling to make a comeback following two years of the pandemic.
Moreover, nearly 90% of the foreigners employed in the Indian film industry do not have valid work permits and the country's police usually choose to turn a blind eye to such illegal immigrants, according to the film artiste unions.
Indian cinema is made up of numerous regional language film businesses -- from Tollywood in Bengal to Kollywood in Tamil Nadu -- that employ a number of people. The Indian film industry generates USD 2.7 billion in revenue annually.
"But the Indian film industry is now facing a major issue with the foreign crew replacing their Indian counterparts," a union member told an Indian media outlet. "Many of these foreigners are working illegally in India in violation of visa norms."
Bollywood is also going through a bad patch -- 15 of the 20 big Hindi films released so far in 2022 have performed horribly at the box office, including Kangana Ranaut's Dhaakad, Akshay Kumar's Rakshabandhan and Aamir Khan-acted Lal Singh Chaddha.