Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar's Dharma Productions has been slapped with a $150,000 lawsuit in Philadelphia for allegedly failing to pay hundreds of local actors and vendors for a movie filmed in the state last autumn.
The lawsuit cites breach of contract by Dharma Productions and its partner Swish Films of Melbourne for the production of its thriller "Jihaad" or "KP-15," the Philadelphia Daily News reported citing court documents.
The lawsuit seeks in excess of $150,000 for unpaid services and expenses for 25 of the vendors hired for the film starring Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor.
It also requests a restraining order that would prevent representatives of Dharma - which changed its name to Karma Films while it continued to shoot "Jihaad" in New York City last month through Sunday - from leaving the US with its assets, primarily the footage already shot in New York, according to the lawsuit.
The filmed scenes are the only assets under US jurisdiction and thus would "preserve the status quo and restore the parties to the last peaceful, uncontested status which preceded the controversy," the daily said in an online report citing the lawsuit.
Dharma initially hired Swish to supervise production of the feature last autumn. The dispute began when a Swish producer sent out cheques in late December, warning actors, vendors and crew members to wait until after Jan 9 to cash them. The cheques bounced anyway, leaving more than $500,000 in unpaid bills.
Dharma has since offered certain workers half the amount they are owed in return for signing a waiver that nullifies any legal action against the company, the report said.
In other cases, Dharma paid the full amount owed, including to the City of Philadelphia and Teamsters Local 107.
Dharma and Swish will be hit with more litigation this week, the newspaper reported citing Center City lawyer Michael H. Rosenthal, who said he will file a suit on behalf of 60 actors and independent contractors.