UP draws flak for rewarding 'Bullett Raja' team
Close on the heels of the Saifai festival controversy that saw the Uttar Pradesh government reportedly spend Rs 300 crore on an entertainment show, comes another one.
(From left) Saif Ali Khan, Tigmanshu Dhulia and Sonakshi Sinha on the sets of Bullet Raja; (below) Rahul Mitra
This time, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has handed over a cheque of Rs 1 crore to Bullett Raja's director Tigmanshu Dhulia and its producer Rahul Mitra for having promoted tourism in the state by shooting extensively in UP
Given that the state has been reeling under the impact of riots (scores of people have lost their lives and property in Muzzafarnagar), such ostentatious handouts by the government are — not surprisingly — attracting a fair share of flak.
On their part, the filmmakers are shrugging off the sum as nothing but subsidy. Producer Rahul Mitra says that claiming subsidy for a film that has been shot extensively (in this case, more than 75 percent) in the state is in keeping with regular policy.
"We had applied for the money long time ago but the procedure took time and we've only got the cheque now. It so happens that the timing is all wrong — had we received the amount a month ago, no one would have batted an eyelid," he says.
He also asserts that money earned as subsidy will now be used to make payments to spot boys, technicians and other staff members.
"My film didn't do too well at the boxoffice and I have some debts to clear. In any case, shooting in the state's interiors has helped create jobs, so accepting a subsidy can't be considered wrong on our part," he says.