By Ishank Katyal
“Kya Kool Hain Hum 3” actress Mandana Karimi has claimed that producer of her upcoming film “Koka Kola” producer Mahendra Dhariwal has misbehaved with her on the sets. Dhariwal, in return accused her of showing unprofessional behaviour on the sets.
Mandana told Bombay Times: ” “I am still in shock about what happened and how it happened. Koka Kola is a film that we have been working on for over a year now, and it’s been one of those jobs that you do despite knowing that the team is not being very professional. We all end up doing a few such jobs to just keep ourselves afloat. From the beginning, I had problems with this crew. The producer (Mahendra Dhariwal) is an old-school man who turns the set into a man-dominated, egoistic place. There are places where projects are driven by one person’s ego. That’s not new, but what happened on November 13 has shaken me up. It was the last day of my shoot and I wanted to wrap up and get going. I had another meeting lined up. On the last two days of the shoot, I had come in early and clocked in the hours, though the shoot wasn’t all about me. A little before wrap-up, the producer asked me for an hour more on the set, which I told him I can’t do as I have a meeting lined up. He said okay, and I went back on set to finish my last few takes. We were shooting for a song. But the moment I left the set and went to my vanity van to change, he forcefully came inside and started shouting, ‘You can’t leave. I asked you to do an extra hour and you have to listen because I am the producer and I have paid you.’ This set had no director or assistants. There was a choreographer, a stylist and the producer was calling the shots, literally. It’s the strangest job I have done in my nine years in India. He started creating a scene on the set along with his son and calling me names. It’s unsettling how they have behaved with me as an artiste and as a woman.”
Mandana adds, “He started saying, ‘Humne paise diye hain, lekin tumko kaam nahi karna hai, paise bhi poore chahiye, blackmail karti hai.’ After my last take, I went to my vanity van and told my spot boy to not let anyone in while I was changing my clothes. I thought the door was locked, but it wasn’t. In a few seconds, the producer came inside, since I was changing, I requested him to wait outside, but he refused and continued screaming. Luckily, the stylist ran into the vanity and pulled him out before things became uglier.”
“I am a single woman, I don’t have family here or a godfather, not even a manager or a PR person. I am trying to make a living on my own. I still can’t understand what really happened. A lot happens on a set, but this was absolute misbehaviour. People have called me and asked me who this shady guy is and why I am working with him. I have to support myself, there is no one else to help me with that. The last few months have been really tough. This behaviour amounts to mental harassment… being shouted at like that in front of so many people, being called names, being asked what visa am I working on, and telling me that I have no work and no one will work with me. In the last two months, the producer has messaged me several times, asking for dates. I was busy with two other projects. He and his son are not trustworthy people, and I wanted the full payment before I resumed work. I am here on an employment visa and I have paid my taxes. I have worked hard with dignity. I love India, and it’s been my home. People know me and have shown support, knowing how professional I am, but imagine being new and not having anyone to back you.” She added.