Mumbai: 5 arrested for disrupting TV soap shoot in Film City

Six people had barged onto the sets of Lajwanti and demanded money to leave; a producers’ body had submitted a list of goons to Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria in April, and three from the list were part of the group

Five people were arrested for disruption and trying to extort money during an ongoing shoot of a TV soap in Film City last week. Around three months ago, a producers’ body had handed a list of names of leaders of all cine workers’ unions attached to various political parties, who are known to interrupt work and demand money to Commissioner of Police Rakesh Maria.

Three of the people arrested by the Aarey police last week figured on the list. The incident occurred last week at Goregaon’s Film City, where the shooting of TV serial Lajwanti was on. Six people barged onto the sets and demanded to see the permissions for the shoot.

When production house workers refused to give in and asked them to leave, the six began demanding money to leave. They began interrupting and disrupting the shooting. A senior production house official then called up Maria, narrating the entire incident and seeking his help.

On Maria’s directions, a team of cops reached the spot and arrested two people. The remaining fled from the scene, but three of them were also caught.

In April, a nine-member delegation of the Association of Advertising Producers (ASA), led by line producer Arpan Fernandes, had submitted a list of troublemakers to the city’s top cop.

The group had apprised the commissioner of the problems they faced on film shoots, including extortion demands from different political unions and seeking permissions for shoots. The list contained the names of representatives of various political cine unions who had allegedly extorted money from them.

The five accused arrested for last week’s incident have been identified as Phoolchand Ubale, Mehul, Bhavesh, Shree and Bala Lokre. Bhavesh, Shree, and Bala’s names figure in the list handed over to the commissioner.

Cop speak
Vilas Chavan, senior police inspector from Aarey police station, said, “We have arrested five accused who went to extort money from the sets of Lajwanti. They all claim to be workers of cine wings of different political parties. We will first have to verify their claims, because anyone can use the name of a political party.”

Production speak
Rajesh Pavithran, from the show’s production house Trilogy Media, said, “These guys came on the second day of the shoot and began demanding documents and licences. We asked them who they are and they took the name of a political union.

When we told them we had all the necessary permissions, they asked us for Rs 90,000 to settle the matter. We got suspicious when they demanded money directly. We spoke to senior police officials and got an FIR registered.”

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