Three years after Saif Ali Khan and Sonakshi Sinha-starrer 'Bullett Raja' released, producers Tigmanshu Dhulia and Rahul Mitra have been accused of not clearing workers' dues to the tune of Rs 40 lakh.
Saif Ali Khan and Sonakshi Sinha in a still from Bullett Raja
A source says, "Several unit hands, including the art director, are still awaiting payment. Last year in July, the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) issued a non-cooperation notice against Tighmanshu and Rahul, but they have still not cleared the dues. The workers have threatened to stall the shoot of Dhulia's next film when it rolls in June."
Dhulia, on his part, says "many people had lost money" after Bullett Raja failed to set the cash registers ringing.
"Even I also lost Rs 65 lakh. But I am compensating the due payment. The (same) art director is working with me on my next film based on Subhash Chandra Bose," he explains.
However, Rahul has a different story to offer. He says the unit hands were quoting different figures at different points of time.
"How can anyone demand a random amount like Rs 40 lakh? The due amount is just Rs 2 lakh. Previously, they asked for Rs 7 lakh; then it became Rs 11 lakh. The Western India Film Producers' Association has asked me not to make any payment since they are demanding an unjustified amount. I will pay them once the association resolves the matter," he adds.
Dilip Pithva, general secretary of FWICE, defends the workers involved with Bullett Raja.
"The film released in 2013 and it is unfair if people have still not been paid. The federation had also sent a letter to Rahul's current employer, Wave Pictures, on April 26 and the break-up of money on that letter also stated that the due amount is over R40 lakh," he says.