Fenil and Bollywood

Pay 40000; get a role in Patho Ghosh’s next!

Posted on: October 24, 2009

Partho Ghosh, the fairly prolific filmmaker of the 1990s and early 2000s, has evidently fallen on seriously bad times. He now asks actors to pay to star in his films. Vickey Lalwani accompanies an aspirant to check out the arrangement

By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 24, 2009)

Manuj Gulati

Galaxy Heights at Goregaon is a fairly non-descript suburban building but myriad dreams are being sold here in flat no. C 101. Partho Ghosh, who has directed actors of the calibre of Madhuri Dixit, Manisha Koirala, Jackie Shroff and Nana Patekar has been reduced to soliciting. Claiming that he is making a film called Punishment starring Emraan Hashmi, Riya Sen and Siddharth Koirala, he has put on offer the secondary roles to aspirants who can cough up Rs 40,000 cash, no audition required. The role reversal neatly exploits hungry actors, who are struggling for a break in the industry.

Manuj Gulati, who has acted in Minus One and Romesh Sharma’s Dil Jo Bhi Kahe and has also appeared in several ads, is one such to whom the offer was made. Recalling the chain of events, Manuj says, “Debu, who was a classmate of mine at my acting school in 2004 gave me Sheikh’s number and asked me to co-ordinate with him if I wanted a role. Sheikh, who Partho later described as the co-producer of Punishment, straightaway told me that the role was mine if I could pay Rs 40,000 in cash. No audition would be required. He offered to give me a post-dated cheque for the amount and also promised to pay me a signing amount when the film took off.”

When Vickey Lalwani (posing as Manuj’s brother Sameer Gulati) and Manuj reached the office at Galaxy Heights, they were met by Debu, Sheikh and Partho, who reiterated the arrangement. A story narration and some bargaining later the amount was brought down to Rs 35,000 provided it was produced pronto because Partho had to catch a flight to Kolkata.

Camera grab of Partho Ghosh

Camera grab of  Sheikh

Camera grab of Debu

Explaining why the money was needed for the film due to start in February, Partho explained, “We are shooting the film in Germany. We have to give Rs 40 lakh to the German Tourism & Culture Department as a security deposit.”

Manuj was offered the role of a German police officer and Partho said his co-star would be Bill Clinton’s ex-girlfriend, who was a model. Debu claimed he was also doing a role but later, Partho retracted and said that neither Debu nor Emraan were part of the film but Milind Soman was.

When contacted, Riya Sen was incredulous. “Which film are you talking about? Have you gone mad? Punishment? What’s that?”

Milind shot back, “Why will I pay anybody? But a struggler will always pay. As for Partho’s film in Germany, Partho had spoken to me about a story he wanted to shoot in Germany but that was last year, and after that, he never got back to me.”

As a parting shot, Sheikh repeated the instructions, “Aapko cash dena hoga. We will be ready with the agreement and the post-dated cheque an hour from now.”

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