Makers of Manikarnika: Queen of Jhansi, starring Kangana Ranaut, are yet to clear dues of approximately Rs. 1.5 crore to the workers and junior artistes, according to Federation of Western India Cine Employees.
The film, which is slated to release 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 artistes.
"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 artistes. The co-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 .
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," Mr Dubey said.
Ashok 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.
Watch the teaser of Manikarnika:
"The producers should understand the plight of these workers, technicians and junior artistes, 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 media contacted Kamal Jain, he remained unavailable for comment.