Rakesh Maria to the rescue
On Saturday afternoon, an eight-member delegation of the film industry met police commissioner Rakesh Maria in order to discuss law and order issues being faced by film crews during shoots in Mumbai. They submitted a memorandum to the commissioner citing various issues, including bribes taken by local police and harassment by political parties.
Ramesh Taurani, Ashoke Pandit, police commissioner Rakesh Maria, Vikas Mohan, TP Agarwal and JD Majethia
Ashoke Pandit, president of the Indian Film and Television Directors’ Association, says, “The commissioner has told us that if a political party or a film union comes to know about someone working illegally on the sets, they can complain to the local police but cannot stop the shoot.”
The members have cited recent instances when political parties would land up on sets and force producers to sign cheques thereby extorting money from them. The members have also alleged that more often than not, the local police doesn’t co-operate with them; instead they demand an amount of Rs 50,000 to R1 lakh within hours of a set being done up for a shoot in the city.
Pandit adds, “Producer Vipul Shah shot for Holiday in Mumbai over two months and he apparently spent Rs 1 crore in bribes. We have been promised that strict action will be taken against police officers who take bribes.”
Vikas Mohan, senior vice president of Indian Film and Television Producers Council, says, “We have been promised a beat chowki inside Film City where producers facing problems of interference — both by political parties and unions —can lodge their complaints.”
Producer Ramesh Taurani says, “Mr Maria has asked us to complain against policemen who extort money from film producers. We have been asked to immediately inform the control room which will then bail out the producer who is being harassed.”
The producers have also asked for a single window clearance for shoots and a nodal officer to address film industry’s grievances.