What’s going on, Abhijeet?

Playback singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya displayed terrible behaviour on the sets of Gajendra Singh’s Antakshari on Tuesday evening. The singer allegedly roughed up a 60-year old man from the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE). The Federation has demanded a public apology from Abhijeet or else… They’ve said that otherwise they will not allow him to work in the industry.

It all started when Dinesh Chaturvedi, general secretary of FWICE, along with the president of Allied Mazdoor Union, Prem Singh Thakur met producer-director Gajendra Singh to inform him that a non-cooperation notice was issued against the singer who had failed to clear the dues of lyricist Subrat Sinha. Abhijeet Bhattacharya has yet to pay Sinha Rs 44,000 for writing lyrics for the album Lamhe. Although the writer got the credit for the song, he was not paid his fee. He filed a complaint with the Writers’ Association, which referred the case to FWICE in November 2006.

Says Chaturvedi, “Abhijeet refused to respond to the letters,so we were forced to write to T-Series that owns the copyright of the album, but they reverted back to us saying that Abhijeet had sold the rights of the album to them and that they had nothing to do with Sinha. All this forced us to issue the non-cooperation notice against Abhijeet.”

Abhijeet’s behaviour on Tuesday came as a shock to all those present on the sets. “We only asked our workers to leave the set. Then Gajendra Singh came down to meet us along with Abhijeet. And no sooner was I introduced to him, than he started abusing me and even pushed me. Luckily, Prem Singh Thakur who was manhandled by some members of Gajendra’s unit, stopped him from hurting me.”

Chaturvedi explains his case saying,” We did not give him any reason for provocation but the moment he heard that we were from the Federation he started using swear words and called us ‘pimps of Pakistani singers’. We tolerated his rubbish but when he pushed me, Prem caught hold of his collar and pulled him back.”

Adds an agitated Prem Singh, “I was trying to save Dineshji from getting hurt, but two men from the creative team of Antakshri punched me on my chest. I didn’t hit back. But we will not allow Abhijeet to work in peace now.”

Chaturvedi says, “Abhijeet will have to apologise in public for his misbehaviour. We cannot tolerate such men in our industry.” But Prem Singh Thakur, who was present on the sets, feels there is no unity in the industry. “While we were talking with Gajendra Singh on the sets, actor Annu Kapoor helped Abhijeet escape from there, even the cameramen weren’t really helpful. We have now warned Gajendra Singh that Abhijeet will not be able to participate in any of his shows unless he apologises to us publicly.”

Thakur further adds, “Annu Kapoor helped him run away otherwise 150 workers who are currently working on the sets, would have beaten him up. Actors may not cooperate but there is a lot of unity among our workers. We have sent notices to film producers’ association not to cooperate with Abhijeet and if they do so they too will face the same consequences.”

Abhijeet, when contacted, said,” I have apologised to that person.”

He added, “I am extremely sorry for what happened last evening.” The singer however said he had terrible experience working with Sinha and one lesson i have learnt is that one should not give chance to newcomers like Sinha.”

Bharati Dubey

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