Mumbai: Filmmakers accuse each other of threats, extortion over unfinished film

The allegations concern the payment for an incomplete film that the film editor and producer had worked on together a few years ago

An untitled and unreleased film has become the centre of a bitter clash between a film editor and a producer, with both accusing each other of threatening and extortion in a plot that seems worthy of a movie itself. The dispute is between film editor Dilip Deo — who has worked on films like No Entry, Jodha Akbar and Wanted — and filmmaker Mohammad Urf Dahak, who worked together on an unfinished project a few years ago, after which, the two parted on a bitter note.

Film editor Dilip Deo
Film editor Dilip Deo

“I was assigned to work for four months and was supposed to get Rs 8 lakh. However, he made me work for 18 months and paid just Rs 10 lakh. In 2014, I registered a case with the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) for non-payment of my dues, because the producer can’t just pay me Rs 2 lakh for 10 extra months I worked,” said Deo.

On January 11, Deo was invited to a Lokhandwala café by one Ashok Saxena to discuss a new project. But when he reached the meeting point, he was accosted by two policemen from Madhya Pradesh, who allegedly dragged him to a waiting Innova and threatened him with dire consequences unless he coughed up Rs 10 lakh and gave it to Dahak.

Deo alleged the producer was also there, albeit in a Skoda that was a little ahead. Dahak and the MP cops then drove Deo to Seven Bungalows, threatening him along the way. “They also came to my house near Oshiwara Industrial Centre and warned me pay R10 lakh to Dahak again. Later at night, my wife, Madhumita Roy, went to the Bangur Nagar police station and registered a complaint,” alleged Deo, adding that he had to be admitted to BSES Brahmakumari Hospital due to the injury he had sustained to his neck when he was dragged in to the car.

Plot twist
The Bangur Nagar police collected CCTV footage from Deo’s building and confirmed that Dahak and two cops had indeed gone there. However, there is more to the story than meets the eye.

PI Deepak Pathankar of Bangur Nagar police station said, “Yes, the Madhya Pradesh police had come to arrest Deo as they have a warrant against him. The mistake was to not inform the Mumbai police.”

When mid-day contacted Dahak, he said it wasn’t him making the threats but Deo. “Whatever he is claiming is a lie. I had filed a case against him in Madhya Pradesh because I got a threat call from him when I was there earlier this month. He was demanding money from me even though I had already given him the full payment. He can’t ask for payment month-wise, because the amount had been decided for the entire project. Now, he is trying to escape arrest by getting hospitalised,” Dahak alleged.

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