'Want my name cleared in Zareen Khan, Anshuman Jha's fiasco'
Accused as an accomplice to the technician who misplaced footage of Zareen Khan's film, cinematographer Faroukh Mistry claims co-producer Anshuman Jha is making him a scapegoat to cover production's negligence
Four days after mid-day carried a report that a bizarre turn of events had hampered the shoot of Zareen Khan's Hum Bhi Akele Tum Bhi Akele, the case has taken a different turn. Digital Imaging Technician Hardik Joshi has been accused of misplacing four-days' worth of shoot of the Anshuman Jha-backed project. But, Joshi, it had been suggested, had informed cinematographer Faroukh Mistry about the developments.
Finding himself in the midst of the evolving controversy, Mistry tells mid-day that the case of the missing hard-drives is linked to the makers' desire to cover their productions delay and negligence. He tells mid-day that the unit had withheld a fair share of information that a cinematographer must have, in a bid to tarnish his image. "The material was lost by Hardik Joshi, a freelance technician who has worked with a number of filmmakers and producers, including Harish Vyas [director] and Anshuman Jha on their last film. Jha and line producer Navey Mittra thought it best to hand over the shoot material to Hardik, who is a junior crew member. He was told to carry the [hard] drives by train over a 36-hour journey from Himachal Pradesh. Mittra insisted that Joshi carry the footage. I was not informed. Mittra and Jha also handed over the rest of the footage to another junior camera crew member, who refused to do so," says Mistry, reiterating that the decision to keep the drives in the hands of junior crew members were being negotiated upon without his knowledge. He states that the production team also knew about the fact that there were no back-ups of the drives that have now gone missing.
"Fourteen days after we got back to Mumbai, Joshi told me he had misplaced four-days worth of footage [in transit]," says Mistry. He points out that the team should not have delayed informing him about the developments. Mistry says, "I hadn't been informed that the drives were being handed out [to the junior crew]. When I got to know of the misplaced footage [14 days later], Joshi was told to inform the production and file a police report. He said he had a meeting with Jha, and a report had been filed. Then he disappeared. If drives go missing for an insured film, the [onus comes] on the producer and the person they hand over the material to. None of this exchange was authorised by me, or even communicated to me. Anshuman and the production unit did not take due diligence to safeguard their footage, like carrying their own material and having a back-up of the footage. I will defend myself through legal measures if need be." Jha did not respond to mid-day's request for comment.
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