Sunny Leone must have wondered what’s happening on her recent shoot of Vikram Bhatt’s web show ‘Anamika’ the other day but perhaps before she could blink, the ‘Raaz’ filmmaker had whisked her into her vanity van so that she could be safe while he dealt with the sudden ugly situation that had cropped up on the sets. Firstly, the shoot in question was stopped and secondly, Vikram had to reschedule the venue for another day at extra cost- and not before he was compelled to pay up Bollywood’s well-known action director-stunt coordinator Abbas Ali Moghul (‘Raaz’, ‘Murder’, ‘Dhoni-The Untold Story’ and many more), he says, to the tune of Rs 13-14 lakh.
The story goes that Leone was shooting for ‘Anamika’, when according to Vikram, the set was suddenly invaded by a few people from the Fighters’ Association demanding that Vikram should pay up Rs 38 lakh to Abbas, for his services on 8 shows with Vikram in the recent past. Rewinds Vikram, “I was bewildered. I really didn’t know what to do, but my first reaction of course was to ensure that Sunny Leone is safe. Soon, I was forced to send snapshots of the cheques that I will give Abbas. Later, a certain Murtaza from his team dropped by on the set to collect the cheques. By then, the sun had set and I could not complete the planned scenes.”
ETimes also got in touch with Abbas who said, “Ab kya bolun? Fighters’ Association is looking into this and hopefully they’ll be able to resolve it.”
Retorts Vikram, “What are they talking about? Resolve what? If I missed two calls from Abbas, couldn’t he have reached out in several other ways? And mind you, it wasn’t Rs 38 lakh that I had to give him. There was no agreement or contract that he had done with me. He didn’t even have an invoice to offer.”
Ejaz Gulab (General Secretary of Fighters’ Association/ Movie Stunt Artistes Association) says that the man who was brought in place of Abbas, a certain Moses, also withdrew from the shoot to support Abbas. Vikram reasons, “Moses keeps texting me that when will the fracas be over and has even come on the set after that. Did he have any option when the Fighters’ Association asked him for support? He’s a member of that Association, after all. And mind you, Abbas settled for just 13-14 lakh simply because of the good rapport that he’s had with Vikram over the years.”
Vikram adds that he was not informed by the Fighters’ Association that they would be coming on the set. ‘Some 3/4 people just barged into the set and said that they would obstruct by coming in front of the camera. It was shocking, to say the least.”
The latest is that Vikram has sent a legal notice to Abbas, stating that he would initiate criminal proceedings against him on charges of extortion. “I called up Ashoke Pandit when this fracas happened. Ashoke suggested that I should call the cops. I avoided that because usmein Abbas ka naam kharab hota. Note well, they have to pay me for the damages I incurred owing to the shoot coming to a halt and staying incomplete EOD” To which Gulab’s rejoinder is, “There was no extortion. The claims are untrue. Murtaza was called by a certain Mehboob from Vikram’s team and given the cheques after Abbas approached the Fighters’ Association.”
So has Abbas got the Rs 13-14 lakh en-cashed? Vikram informs, “No, I had given post-dated cheques but later under the advice of my lawyer Rizwan Siddiquie, sent them a legal notice and instructed the bank to stop payment.” Seemingly, Vikram was a cat on a hot-tinned roof throughout the night when he reached home since he had been driven to shell out money on ‘My Way Or The Highway’ stance adopted by the Fighters’ Association.
Gulab says, “Fighters’ Association will not give up. Abbas was supposed to do show ‘Anamika’. He had to adjust the dates of just 1/2 days and had called for just that. Vikram did not attend his calls.”
Advocate Siddiquie, however, when contacted, refused to comment. “I am in Kerala on a holiday. I am coming back to Mumbai after 3 days. I will not talk on this now,” he quipped.
Vikram thundered back, “Look, let me tell you that I shall take this matter to the High Court. I had given them 4 days to respond to my legal notice; I haven’t got any reply in any form.”
A source from the industry says, “Vikram and Abbas have been a very good team, This misunderstanding clearly got out of hand. Hope they patch up. Vikram had even given a chance to Abbas’ son to direct one of his ventures.”
Concludes Vikram exasperatedly, “I don’t think any big star or producer wants to work with Abbas in today’s times at least. He is very uncouth; he abuses a lot and has a temper.”