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Will the release of 'Welcome Back' be postponed again?

An apparent uncertainty shrouds the release of 'Welcome Back' with the producer allegedly having rubbed the financers and crew the wrong way

If the latest buzz is to be believed, the sequel to 2007 hit comedy Welcome will miss its release date for the third time. Initially, Welcome Back was set for a box office clash with PK and then moved to January only to be pushed ahead to May 29. But now sources who are involved in the production team say it has been indefinitely postponed due to an alleged stand-off between the makers and distributors over the film’s buying rates, and also as financers have had an apparent showdown with producer Firoz Nadiadwala.

On May 11, we carried a report (Hardly Welcome) about Sycoriaan Matrimonial Services filing a police complaint against the producer for reneging on branding promise in exchange for R15 lakh. A copy of the documents are in hitlist’s possession.

From left: Nana Patekar, Paresh Rawal, Shruti Haasan, Firoz Nadiadwala, Anil Kapoor, John Abraham and Anees Bazmee
From left: Nana Patekar, Paresh Rawal, Shruti Haasan, Firoz Nadiadwala, Anil Kapoor, John Abraham and Anees Bazmee

The source states that financers, in order to get their investment’s worth, would take their friends and families to the sets to get clicked with the star cast or pose as background crowd in certain scenes and songs. Adds the source, “Some of their relatives are seen in two songs shot at Mehboob Studios and Chandivali Studios. One of the financers also asked Firoz to feature his female friend in a song, but her presence was toned down to a blink-and-miss appearance. They had a spat after which Firoz offered her a bigger role in his next film.”

A senior direction team source says Firoz has also not made full payment to director Anees Bazmee or the star cast, adding: “Only one actor, who put his foot down and refused to shoot, managed to get his payment. Even technicians are awaiting their dues since a year.”

Technician Gulab Rao, who supplied machines for special effects for a song featuring John Abraham, is yet to receive payment of over Rs 3 lakh. “It’s been more than a year and I have stopped pursuing the case. I supplied machines for the Mehboob Studios schedule and was told my previous dues will be cleared. Every time I try to contact him, his manager doesn’t let me talk to him and says they don’t have money.”

Sources say that he had approached a leading studio for backing, but it apparently didn’t work out.

Firoz, however, denies the story, saying: “Our film has not released because it is not ready yet. More than 1,000 shots are pending for special effects. Also, we have just decided to shoot a song so the release has been postponed.”

Talking about the distributors not willing to buy the film at the rate he has demanded, the producer says, “I have not spoken to any distributor or studio as of now because the film is incomplete.”

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