The shoot of Vishal Bhardwaj's 'Rangoon' was disrupted on Saturday following a case of mistaken identity and comedy of errors. Members of Film Studios Setting and Allied Mazdoor Union (FSSAMU) marched into the set over pending dues, but the makers claimed that their payment had long been cleared.
Shahid Kapoor (left) with his 'Rangoon' director Vishal Bhardwaj at an event last year. Pic/Getty Images
On further discussion, it turned out that the film's producer Sajid Nadiadwala had indeed signed a cheque to FSSAMU — only that it is a namesake affiliated to the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE).
Says a source, "The Gangeshwar Shrivastav-led Mazdoor Union had been dissolved by the FWICE in December 2014 for alleged criminal behaviour. They have since been operating as an independent body. Meanwhile, the FWICE set up a workers' union of the same name, which seems to have got the payment from Nadiadwala now."
Shrivastav says a cheque for around Rs 25 lakh has landed in the wrong hands due to confusion over the union's name and that he's planning legal action against the FWICE for forming its workers' body under the same moniker of FSSAMU.
Sajid Nadiadwala and (inset) Gangeshwar Shrivastav
"It is our workers who deserve the payment and we should be given the money. Around 90 per cent of the workers on set supported us; they are not members of the federation. If we do not get the payment, work on all Sajid Nadiadwala films will be stopped."
Politicising the issue
Prem Singh, chairman of the FWICE-affiliated workers' body, says, "The federation suspended Shrivastav in 2014 and he has no rights to demand the payment of workers. I am the union chairman since January 23, 2015 and we will make all payment. Shrivastav is creating disturbance since he has the backing of BJP MLA Ram Kadam."
Shrivastav, however, says, "In January 2015, members of our union elected Ram Kadam as the chairman. "He supported us as the chairman and not as a politician." Despite repeated attempts, Nadiadwala remained unavailable for comment.