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Saif-Kareena film in payments controversy

Syed Firdaus Ashraf | January 30, 2009 13:52 IST

Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor
Karan Johar's latest production seems to have come into some trouble.

Some crew members in Philadelphia, USA, where the film was shot last winter, have complained that they have not received payment even after the shoot ended.

Directed by first-timer Rensil D'Silva (who wrote Aks [Images] and Rang De Basanti [Images]), the yet-untitled film stars Saif Ali Khan [Images] and Kareena Kapoor [Images]. It was shot in Philadelphia in November and December, and 1,000 crew members and extras were hired. Johar's Dharma Productions enlisted an Australian company called Swish Group Limited to help with the shoot.

The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reported that according to the workers, the payment of $100,000 had bounced and that Swish was not responding to their inquiries.

Apoorva Mehta, CEO, Dharma Productions, told, "They (Swish ) have an accounting problem at the moment. They have confirmed receiving the money from our side. They said they will settle the due in two or three weeks. They have given us a confirmation letter also."

Cary P Stynes, Managing Director, Swish Group Limited, forwarded his reply to Dharma Productions to this reporter via e-mail, where he admitted to the delay in payments.

'We are in the process of resolving all matters in relation to the payment to crew members and vendors appointed by us for services in relation to your film, currently under production,' the e-mail stated. 'We have not been able to do so, as the accounts for the film are yet to be finalised. We have given this matter priority over all other accounting issues and our accounts team are working around the clock to sort out the issues that we have had. We are still reconciling the exact amounts of what is owed to various people who worked on the film.'

Styles further stated that payments will be made within the next 10 to 15 days.

'We once again confirm that we have received full and complete payment from you of all amounts requested by us to date. We thank you for your patience and we have no objection if you share this letter with the crew members, vendors and other stakeholders. Apologies again for any inconvenience or embarrassment caused,' Stynes concluded.

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