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40 dancers say haven't been paid yet for January shoot for Akshay Kumar's Prithviraj

Studio reveals payment was made five months ago. Dancers appeal to the star on Twitter for justice.

Keyur Seta

Around 40 female background dancers have revealed that they have not yet received payment for a song for the Akshay Kumar-starrer Prithviraj that was picturized in January. The film is directed by Chandra Prakash Dwivedi and produced by Yash Raj Films (YRF).

A spokesperson for YRF told Cinestaan.com that the payment was released on 7 February and no payment is pending on the studio's part.

The non-payment of dues was revealed by one of the dancers through a series of tweets addressed to Akshay Kumar from the handle @NeedJustice4All. 

“We are a group of 40 background dancers," the dancer, who asked not to be identified, told Cinestaan.com. "Our shoot got over in January. Normally we get paid in a month. There were a total of 70 or 80 girls, of whom the coordinator paid 35. The payment of the rest is pending.”

The dancer further said the coordinator who had picked them for the shoot has started threatening them when they call to ask for payment, saying the people concerned are too powerful. "If you lodge a complaint, they will pay Rs2 lakh and get the case dismissed. You will neither get payment nor any work in the industry,” the dancer claimed he told them.

According to the dancer, the song in question is ‘Yodha’. The team rehearsed for it over three days starting 23 January and shot for it over four days after the Republic Day holiday.

Sharing the payment details, the dancer said, “The total payment pending is around Rs8 lakh. Each girl is to receive between Rs15,000 and Rs20,000. We would have waited if things were normal, but because of this lockdown even we are stressed since 90% of the girls stay as paying guests and now there is no work, so it’s hard to survive.”

The dancers have been in touch with their coordinator for the payments, but he has allegedly been using rude language in response.

When Cinestaan.com contacted the coordinator, he agreed that the payment had been delayed. Also speaking on condition of anonymity, he said, “Generally they are paid in a month’s time, but it got delayed [this time]. A few days later the lockdown began. Now the production has stopped and the producer's offices are also shut. Until I get payment from them, I can't hand it over to the dancers.”

However, the producer's spokesperson told Cinestaan.com that the payment was released to the main coordinator almost five months ago and he in turn had paid the junior coordinators. "There is an issue with one of the sub-coordinators which the main coordinator is looking into and will sort out immediately,” the spokesperon promised.

The senior coordinator told Cinestaan.com, “I used to coordinate with five junior coordinators and I paid them all. But some coordinators haven’t paid some dancers. I didn’t know about this. I got to know from their tweets yesterday.”

The senior coordinator promised to intervene and sort out the issue quickly. “If I knew this, I would have personally called these dancers and said that I will make the payment soon. I will see what needs to be done with the junior coordinators. I spoke to them and said the payment should be made in two days or else they will face the music,” he said.

The senior coordinator also disputed the number of dancers who remain to be paid, saying there are less than 40. “Only a few dancers' payment is pending,” he said.

Update, 30 June 2020: This report has been revised to include the statements of the producer and the senior coordinator.