Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi has been marred by controversy right from its inception. Earlier, Sonu Sood’s sudden exit delayed the schedule. Now, the makers of the film are yet to clear dues of approximately Rs 1.5 crores to the workers and junior artists, according to Federation of Western India Cine Employees. The film, which is due to be released on January 25 next year, is currently under post-production. The makers have been shooting some portions of the film 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 are to be paid to 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) told PTI.
The Film Studio Setting and Allied Mazdoor Union workers stalled work on the sets. The workers union then approached FWICE to seek their help in this matter.
"There was some patch up work that was remaining. We spoke to Kamal Jain in the first week of November to sort out this payment issue. But now he has stopped answering our calls. He had told he will not pay the workers if the shooting comes to a halt," Dubey said.
Dubey said FWICE is planning to write a letter to Prime Focus, a company working on the post production of "Manikarnika" and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to not work on the film and give it clearance till the payments are made.
"The producers should understand the plight of these workers, technicians and junior artists, there is no safety and security on the sets, there is no insurance for them. Besides this, the quality of food on the sets is not always good and there is also an issue of hygiene.
"We are also planning to meet Kirit Somaiya, who is the chairman of Labour committee," he added.
When contacted Jain, he remained unavailable for comments.
(With PTI Inputs)