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Games people play

Did Mukesh Bhatt play dirty with Sahara Motion pictures to get better terms for Jannat? Hiren Kotwani finds out.
Hindustan Times | By Hiren Kotwani, Mumbai
UPDATED ON APR 08, 2008 06:55 PM IST

Producer Mukesh Bhatt is gearing up for the release of Jannat, helmed by first-timer Kunal Deshmukh, and featuring Emraan Hashmi and debutante Sonal Chauhan.

According to a source Bhatt had sold the distribution rights of Jannat to Sahara, and had even got a cheque in return that he smartly didn’t encash. Apparently, when he sensed that he could get a more lucrative deal from Percept Picture Company, Bhatt set up a meeting with PPC and took the cheque along.

“By showing it he was able to get better terms from Percept after which he pulled out of the Sahara deal,” informs the source.

Quiz Bhatt on this and he admits that talks were on with Sahara “but the terms they offered were not viable.We got a better deal from PPC and so opted for it.”

He vehemently denies getting a cheque from Sahara and asserts, “When we couldn’t work things out to our mutual satisfaction, where’s the question of getting money from Sahara? My company is a big brand. I’d never resort to such cheap tricks."

However, our source stands by the story.

Raaz ki baat
Meanwhile after its much-hyped entry in Hindi films with Saawariya ended as a damp squib, international entertainment giant Sony Pictures has altered its strategy. And for starters has signed a three-movie deal with Vishesh Films.

The first product of this corporate tie-up is the Mohit Suri directed Raaz – 2. The horror story toplines Hashmi, Kangana Ranaut, Chauhan and Adhyan (son of Shekhar Suman). Incidentally, Mashhoor Amrohi, grandson of the late filmmaker Kamal Amrohi, was to play the second lead. But, according to Bhatt, Suri thought Adhyan suited the part better.

“Mohit will take Mashhoor for another role in another film,” he says. Bhatt refuses to reveal more details about the association with Sony.

“We’re still in the process of finalising the other movies and the time frame within which they will be completed,” he points out.

“We should be able to finalise everything in another two weeks.”

Unlike Saawariya, which was a co-production with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the Raaz sequel is being produced under the Vishesh Films banner. Sony Pictures are the worldwide distributors of the film.

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