Kangana Ranaut starrer Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi sailing through troubled waters (Twitter Photo)
Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, which had landed in another trouble pit recently, as it was reported that the makers are yet to clear payment of approximately Rs 1.5 crore to the workers and junior artists, stated by the Federation of Western India Cine Employees. However, producer Kamal Jain on Friday refuted the allegations. The movie is slated to release on January 20 in 2019 and is currently working with its post-production. The filmmakers are also shooting some portions of the epic drama at Filmcity in suburban Mumbai.
Owing to the issues in payments of workers, technicians and junior artists, the shoot was halted on Wednesday afternoon mid-way. “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 work on the sets was stalled by the Film Studio Setting and Allied Mazdoor Union workers. The workers union had to later approach the FWICE to seek their help to resolve the matter.
“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.
The film producer said that they have filed a complaint with the Film & TV Producers Guild of India against Film and Allied Union over one disputed vendor. Jain further added that the film’s shoot was completed on October 13 and all the legitimate and due payments were cleared thereby.
"One disputed vendor, who has already been paid 70 percent 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 to PTI.
He added, "As a production house we are absolutely clear on not holding back any ones 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."
Ever since the film went on floors, Manikarnika has been in the news for no good reasons. One of the most controversial films of the year, Manikarnika had to face a lot of backlash from its cast and crew. The budget of Manikarnika has reportedly escalated from Rs 60 crore to Rs 125 crore, Kangana taking over the reins from director Krish and co-star Sonu Sood abandoning the project due to differences with her.
The cast also includes Ankita Lokhande, Suresh Oberoi, and Bengali actor Jisshu Sengupta among others.