On January 8, hitlist had published a report about Priyanka Chopra's banner allegedly defaulting on payment to workers hired for an ad shoot in April-May last year (Read more). Now, the workers' union has decided to boycott the production company until their dues are cleared.
Says a source, "The total dues came to nearly Rs 36 lakh, of which only Rs 20 lakh has been cleared. The remaining amount has been withheld for reasons best known to them. We sent them the bill twice in December last year, but they have not responded so far."
Priyanka remained unavailable for comment. Gangeshwar Srivastav, general secretary of Film Studio Setting and Allied Mazdoor Union, says, "It has been almost a year since our members rendered their services to Priyanka Chopra's Purple Pebble Pictures, which hasn't released the payment yet. After sending them a couple of reminders, her (Priyanka's) aunt and two persons involved with the company, Ishaan Dutta and Amit Vij, had come to meet us. They assured us that dues of Rs 16 lakh would be cleared soon. However, they made payment of Rs 5 lakh to the art director. What about the workers? Now we are left with no choice but to issue a non-cooperation notice against Purple Pebble."
Earlier, a source at her production company had claimed that they had an all-inclusive contract with the art director/set designer, as mentioned in the invoice, and that they were not liable to make payment to the workers. The money was directly paid to the art director, an official had said on the condition of anonymity.
Anil Nagrath, secretary, Indian Motion Pictures' Producers Association (IMPPA) says, "PPP has already paid the art director but he hasn't paid his workers. In addition to the money cleared, a cheque of Rs 5 lakh is lying in IMPPA's office but the art director has not come to claim it. Now the workers are harassing PPP. It's a plain extortion racket. Why are the workers continuing to work with such a art director?"