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'Manikarnika..' producer refutes allegations of defaulting on payments

A day after Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) claimed that the makers of "Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi" are yet to clear dues of approximately Rs 1.5 crore to workers and junior artists, producer Kamal Jain Friday, refuted the allegations.

The producer said that all the legitimate and due payments have been made, except one vendor, who is arm-twisting them.

According to FWICE, the makers of Kangana Ranaut-starrer film, have been shooting some portions of the movie at Filmcity in suburban Mumbai. The shoot was halted Wednesday afternoon mid-way because of non-payment of dues of workers, technicians and junior artists.

"It has been three months but they have not cleared dues of daily wage workers, which is about Rs 40 lakh. About Rs 90 lakh is to be paid to the light vendor and Rs 25 lakh to junior artists. The producer (Kamal Jain) had promised to make the payment by October but he has not fulfilled his commitment," Ashok Dubey, General Secretary of Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) had told PTI on Thursday.

Jain, on his part, said they have filed a complaint with the Film & TV Producers Guild of India against Film and Allied Union over one disputed vendor.

According to Jain, the shoot got over on October 13, and "all legitimate and due payments were made."

"One disputed vendor, who has already been paid 70 per cent of his dues, is illegitimately now using the union authority to arm twist us and disrupted our film shoot, which is completely illegal, untenable under the law and clearly is harassment to us and our team.

"This is one vendor whose payment is under dispute and is being tackled professionally and in a businesslike manner," Jain said in a statement here.

Jain said, the matter is being handled by Producers' Guild and they will abide by their process.

He added, "As a production house we are absolutely clear on not holding back any one's payment which is legitimate and due, as we immensely respect everyone's hard work that has gone into this film. We are thankful to each vendor/individual who has helped us on making this film."

Kulmeet Makkar, Chief Executive Officer Producers Guild of India, said, they are looking into the matter and will take the necessary action.

"We have been formally informed by our member Kairos Kontent that film and allied union and a specific vendor have been misusing their authority to stop film shooting. This is indeed unfortunate and extremely unhealthy trade practice.

"This is a commercial matter between producer and a vendor hence should be amicably resolved. We will be looking into the complaint made by our member to take the next course of action," Makkar said.

Reacting to Jain's statement, Dubey, told PTI, "The film takes a long time to get made. The makers have made some payment but there are dues that are pending to workers, junior artists."

The film is due to be released on January 25 next year.

(With inputs from agencies.)



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