Pulkit Samrat, who was popular for his role of Lakshya in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, was once a Balaji Telefilms favourite. But now, things seem to have soured between him and Ekta Kapoor's production house.
Pulkit has filed a case against Balaji Telefilms for the non-payment of dues and for not allowing him to take up other projects from other production houses. He tells Rajul Hegde what went wrong:
How did the problem start?
I have been working for Balaji for the last one and a half years. But I must have barely worked for four-five months during that time. I worked 30 days a month but during the shoot, I had to sit around for 14 hours just to have screen time of two-three minutes.
I did not come from Delhi to wait such long hours. I know this is how the industry works. I wouldn't mind if the role was worth it. Sometimes, I just had lines like, 'Khana achcha hai' or just answer the doorbell. For the last two months, I did not have any work.
When I complained about this, and told them that I wanted to work outside (the production house), I was shown my three-year contract with Balaji. Then I began reading false stories in newspapers about me being sacked from Balaji for not attending shoots. But I didn't bother then.
Why did it become worse?
One day, I received a (court) notice while shooting for Kyunki from the production house. It said that I was not attending the shoot, not answering calls from the production house etc. I was shocked. Even my friends started asking me how come I was present (at the shoot) when there was news that I was not attending shoots.
Did you speak to Ekta Kapoor and clear the air?
I tried to explain to Ekta but she did not believe me. She didn't get my viewpoint. There are some people whom she trusts blindly. When they give her wrong information, she reacts to it.
Why did you decide to go to court?
This is not the way you talk about professionalism. I lost my patience after the notice. I am here to protect myself. I tried to solve it amicably but that didn't happen. Every production has a contract but when we are not allowed to work outside, it is really bad. As an actor, everyone wants to grow. I didn't have any choice but to go to court.
What is the court's verdict?
I am free now and can work anywhere. I am thankful to all the people who have supported me, especially my family. Justice Chandrachund instructed Balaji not to 'arm-twist' actors and stop them from working with other production houses.
Will it not affect your career since you have gone against Ekta Kapoor?
I have apologised (to) and asked Ekta Kapoor to excuse me if I have hurt her. I don't have anything against her, it is against the contract. I know she has certain powers, which can make or break careers in the television industry. If I think that way, I cannot move ahead in life. She has already sent an SMS saying: 'We will see to it by next year you will be nowhere.'
I am glad that I have taken this step. I am receiving a lot of SMSes from the industry, channels, journalists, friends and fans, congratulating me on taking such a bold step.
How much dues have you yet to receive from Balaji?
Money is not an issue here. I have not received payment of around Rs 3.25 lakh for several months.
Have you got any offers for television and films?
I have always got many offers from television and films. The first thing they ask me is about my contract with Balaji Telefilms.
I have not finalised anything as yet. I will take my time and choose the best. What has been happening in television industry is wrong and someone had to speak up. I am happy that I am the first to take steps and win the case. I need all your support and good wishes.