Soon after the announcement poster of Welcome To The Jungle came out, it landed in an unforeseen controversy. The Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) sent a letter to all the actors — Akshay Kumar, Raveena Tandon, Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi, Disha Patani among others — along with the producers, director as well as people associated with the project, to not start the shoot, unless its producer Firoz Nadiadwallah clears the pending dues to director Anees Bazmee for the previous instalment of the franchise.
Now, Bazmee exclusively tells us the course of events and how the case has been going on for the last eight years, but no payment has been made by Nadiadwallah till date.
“The last film I did with Firoz was Welcome Back in 2015, and ₹5 crore from my remuneration were left to be paid by the production house. However, at the time of payment, he started saying, ‘We have suffered losses and won’t be able to pay you’. Later, they asked me to reduce or wave off some percentage,” recalls Bazmee, who eventually agreed to waive off ₹3 crore.
Stating that till date he has not received the remaining amount, the 60-year-old further reveals, “I signed an agreement, and was expecting to get the remaining ₹2 crore. But, when I asked for the payment, Firoz said he’ll issue me a cheque. However, since the production house had already delayed the payment a lot, the federation had got involved, and therefore, the cheque was made in their name. After all this, on the clearance date, cheque bounced. So till date, they haven't paid my remaining remuneration for Welcome 2 even after waiving off ₹3 crore.”
While Nadiadwala, Bazmee and the representatives from the federation had a few meetings in these eight years to resolve the issue, nothing has been settled yet.
“Meetings toh hoti rehti thi, but aaj tak paise nahi mile hain. They wanted me to do Welcome 3. I asked them what about my previous payment, and I was told, ‘Aap picture karo, hum aapki nayi, puraani, sab payment clear kar denge’. But despite all the negotiations, nothing positive has come out,” says a disappointed Bazmee.
However, he clarifies that non-payment wasn’t the reason he didn’t agree to direct Welcome To The Jungle. He goes on to explain, “I even told Firoz not to mix up two things. These are entirely different matters. Even I wanted to do the third instalment, but there were other reasons for saying no to it.
Though the issue has been going on since 2015, Nadiadwallah was not working on any project, and hence no action could be taken. Bazmee tells us, “They were not making any film and hence we could not do much. But now when they announced Welcome to the Jungle, the federation sent out notice to all the cast members and others involved in the film.”
FWICE President BN Tiwari, who had shared that the signed cheques were bounced, also confirms the course of events. “When we questioned Nadiadwallah and his team about the cheque getting bounced, he said it was signed by mistake. He even denied ki humne aisi koi baat ki thi, and stopped responding to us. Hum police toh hain nahin hain ki ghar jaakar ladai karenge. We acted after this new film was announced. We have sent letter to all the actors as well as all the involved production houses and expect them to comply with the request. If they don’t, we will issue a non cooperation notice against their names as well,” he shares, adding that the federation has now demanded the producers to pay full amount of ₹5 crore to Bazeee. “The agreement that Firoz and Bazmee signed had the clause that if the cheque bounces and the payment is not made, penalty of 20 percent of the amount will be added every year. Since they failed to pay the negotiated amount at the time of settlement, they will now have to pay approximately 5 crores,” he tells us.
(This story has not been edited by Thepearl staff and is auto-generated from a Hindustan Time RSS Feed.)