Budding Bollywood Filmmaker Miffed With Worker’s Association, Vows Never to Shoot in West Bengal Again

Budding Bollywood Filmmaker Kushan Nandy has already produced a few Bollywood movies such as 88 Antop Hill & Humdum. He’s the son of Pritish Nandy, who’s a former journalist and TV presenter, and an active politician. So in that sense he’s not really a common man, but a frustrated Kushan Nandy recently had to leave the shoot of his next film mid-way in West Bengal. Reason? His fallout with the workers association in West Bengal.

According to Kushan, the officials of Federation of Cine Technicians and Workers of Eastern India persuaded him to hire six assistants, out of which four of them never turned up on the sets. Despite their nonchalant attitude, Kushan mentioned that he was forced to pay them. He further accused them of extorting money from him and stated that he even paid about Rs. 55 lakhs, after they started threatening him. Adding further, Kushan revealed that during this schedule, he was forced to accept 30 additional members in the crew, despite having a team of 70 which according to him was sufficient for the shoot of the film. In fact, elaborating on the incident, a miffed Nandy also alleged that a group of people barged on the sets of the film, locked the cameras around and even blocked the exits of the hotel, as he termed it as a ‘hostage’ situation.

The film is titled ‘Babumoshai Bandokbaaz’ and stars Chitrangda Singh and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

The General Secretary of the federation, Aparna Ghatak, obviously had a different story to tell and blamed Kushan for the situation. It seems Kushan has been delaying payments to the federation’s artists & workers who worked on the sets of his film. She also claims that the cheques given by the director bounced twice and despite that, they did not take the help of police officials. Ghatak stated that there was full co-operation from her team for the film-shoot.

Kushan Nandy, who’s back in Mumbai, sticks to his version and vowed never to shoot in West Bengal ever again. He’s also relieved that his actors are safely back in Mumbai, because he feels that the working style of the workers there is similar to that of mafia and was concerned for the safety of his crew and actors. Kushan will have to reshoot the film at a different location now.

So who’s right?

Well, although its too early to take sides, the fact is that West Bengal is not among the best states (and not even safest) in India to do business. Recently, labour clashes had claimed the life of the chief executive of the Northbrook Jute Company in West Bengal, in recent times a couple of major plants have also suspended operations in the state citing labour problems. These indicate that the state currently does not offer the peace and stability that is required for the growth of industry and business in West Bengal, and that includes film shoots as well. Read: Labour’s shadow over Bengal industry