Bollywood row over claims of unpaid wages


By Martin Graham

A FILM shot in Scotland starring some of the biggest names in Bollywood has become embroiled in a bitter row over alleged unpaid wages.

Production staff who worked on ‘Mausam’ while it was shooting in locations including Edinburgh claim they are yet to be paid for work on the movie which saw Indian legend Pankaj Kapoor cast his actor son Shahid Kapoor in the lead role along with screen beauty Sonam Kapoor (no relation).

Now crew members who worked on ‘Mausam’ have engaged the services of lawyer Des Donoghue to try and re-coup their earnings which they say run as high as £10,000.

An ultimatum has been issued for this coming Friday for the production company Seasons of Love Films to come up with the cash or face court action.

Mr Donoghue said: “I am representing eight clients and I am taking legal action to recover unpaid wages.

“I have let the company know that unless they contact me by Friday 20 August to arrange payment then we will initiate court proceedings against them.

“The total amount owed is somewhere in the region of £10,000.

“Some people have been paid, in response to letters I wrote to the headquarters of the production company Seasons of Love Films in London.

“One case I am dealing with is above the £3,000 limit for the small claims court, that will be dealt with separately.”

Businessman Andy Campbell claims he was left thousands of pounds out of pocket when the production company rented horses and carriages from his company, but then failed to pay for the services provided.

Mr Campbell, who runs Carriages for All Occasions, said he had to resort to extreme measures to finally get the matter resolved.

He said: “They kept promising that the £3,800 would be paid by money transfer, but it never came through.

“Eventually I just went to the production office in Edinburgh and refused to leave until they paid me.

“At first they offered a post-dated cheque, but I refused to accept it.

“Then they gave me a proper cheque for the money owed.

“One of them even had the cheek to say that I should feel lucky to have been paid, as I had stabbed them in the back.”

Andy said he staged a protest outside one of the shooting locations to draw attention to the fact that he had not been paid.

He visited one of the sets with two white horse-drawn hearses which had signs saying ‘Pay our wages’.

Wardrobe crew member Alison Mitchell claimed she is also owed money from the production company, and was scathing in her criticism of the way the shoot was done.

She said: “It’s the worst experience I’ve ever had working on a film, and the unpleasantness and stress of not being paid for the work we did has been crippling.”

Speaking about the ongoing controversy with the production, Sharon Elliott of the film industry union BECTU said: “We became aware of the issues with this production in July, when we heard reports of wages not being paid.

“We have contacted their registered office but we have not received a response.

“The company have now been placed on our ‘ask first’ list, basically a black list of companies with a bad reputation for not paying.

“This highlights the need for greater regulation of companies who come to Scotland to make films, they should make sure they have enough resources to pay the hard working and talented local crew members.”

The producers of the film were unavailable for comment.