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Producer under fire for giving scriptwriter a fee as high as heroine’s wardrobe budget

12, Sep 2011 By Vipul K Rawal

Mumbai. A Bollywood film producer is facing strong criticism for offering a scriptwriter an amount of fee, which is as high as the budget earmarked for the wardrobe expenses of the film’s heroine. The step is being seen as a “game changer” that could queer the pitch of filmmaking for existing and future filmmakers, and thus is being opposed by most of the producers in the industry.

“This is really shocking,” said Producer Anil Nagrath, an Indian Motion Pictures’ Producers Association (IMPPA) member who has produced films like Shaitaano Ka Honeymoon and Chudail Bani Suhaagan in the past.

“This will definitely skew up the economics of making viable projects,” he added, using the word ‘project’ instead of ‘films’ to sound more convincing. “First we had to overpay the actors, then coprates (sic.), and now this. I think I will have to quit making meaningful cinema and go back to Jabalpur and teach film making to aspiring film makers,” he said shaking his head ruefully.

underpaid and overworked
A writer showing a payment that he claimed to have received as the signing amount for his last movie

Entertainment Lawyer Neelima Bhatt, who draws up contracts for most members of the film fraternity, dismissed this as a one off incident: “We have a system of valuation for every department and we will never allow our producer clients to pay such exuberant fees to a writer. In this instance, I guess the producer may still not have located the DVD of the original foreign movie from which the writer was inspired. However, once he locates the DVD, I am sure the contract will be reworked.”

Ram Gopal Verma, the mercurial filmmaker when asked to react on this news said in his own cryptic style, “I am not bothered with what others earn. I am only bothered about myself, also, there is a big difference in drawing up a contract and paying the contractual amount,” and disconnected the phone.

Kareena Kapoor, when asked to comment on the development, was her usual bubbly self. “I think the producers are just playing a prank or a practical joke on the poor writer, but he should take it in good spirits. On the sets, even we all play pranks on each other like one big happy family,” she then went on for the next couple of hours on the importance of love and family bonding.

Sajid Nadiadwaala and Sajid Khan, who were enjoying a massage in Bangkok, were kind enough to take time off their vacation and offer a byte to this journalist: “Frankly, I am in no position to comment on this as I have never felt the need of employing a writer for any of my films, especially since Sajid (Khan) has joined our camp as a director.”

Faking News could finally locate the writer who pulled of this brilliant coup, and after much goading, he agreed to give a byte on the condition of anonymity. “Please don’t mention my name as my producer doesn’t want any controversy till the film is about to be released. He had plans to create this controversy just two weeks prior to the release, but I don’t know how you came to know about this. However, I’m happy as this is the best amount I’ve got it in my career spanning over 25 years.”

“Bajaj scooter,” is what the writer replied when Faking News asked how he intended to spend the money.