Motichoor Chaknachoor: Shooting of Nawazuddin Siddiqui-Sunny Leone's special song comes to halt
Shoot of Nawazuddin Siddiqui-Sunny Leone's special song grinds to a halt after unit hands stage walkout over alleged non-payment of dues by Motichoor Chaknachoor maker
Ironic as it sounds, the shooting of a song for Motichoor Chaknachoor ended with the film's producer, Rajesh Bhatia, facing the music. On Thursday, Nawazuddin Siddiqui was to film a special number — a last-minute addition to the slice-of-life film featuring Athiya Shetty — with Sunny Leone at Filmistan Studio, Goregaon. However, the shoot ground to a halt when the technicians staged a walkout with members of Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE). The protest was a mark of their allegiance to the unit hands who were formerly associated with the film and were allegedly not paid their dues by Bhatia.
In March, the producer had shown the door to director Debamitra Hasan and several other unit members, citing creative differences. Six months since the incident, Hasan claims they have yet to be compensated.
Ashok Dubey, general secretary, FWICE, says, "We had received complaints about the sacking of technicians and non-payment of dues. Despite sending several notices to the producer, he paid no heed. So, the technicians decided to protest on Thursday." Dubey adds that when Viacom 18, co-producer of the film, realised that the shoot had stopped mid-way, they agreed to meet FWICE members on Monday for a dialogue.
The director says that Bhatia has been trying to run the show after he terminated her contract overnight. "While working on the edit, he had suggested some irrelevant changes. When I suggested that we'll look at alterations later, it resulted in an argument. The next day, he sent termination letters to the editor [Chandan Arora], writer [Megh Vrat] and me. Nawaz tried to resolve the issue, but Bhatia was adamant."
When mid-day reached out to Bhatia, he stated that the FWICE members had landed on the set "to check if the technicians were carrying ID cards. The shoot was conducted by Viacom 18, not by me. Also, the shoot was not halted; the crew only stopped during lunch break." Questioned about the non-payment of dues, he added, "Payments are structured, and a certain amount is paid after the film's release. We will also give credit to Debamitra."
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