One of the biggest stories raging around Bollywood at this time is the war of words between director Pooja Bhatt and model turned actor Muzammil Ibrahim. He is the star of her new film Dhoka set to release on August 31st. After a tempestuous filming the two went their separate ways and are certainly not showing any respect to each other in the press.
There were rumors that during filming Bhatt slapped her lead actor and even that he was in tears at the end of some filming days. However, these are just rumors. A source from the set said, “Muzammil’s role in the film has a great deal of intensity and therefore required a topnotch performance. Pooja kept demanding more out of Muzammil but he fell short of delivering up to her expectations.” In fact things got so bad between the two that Mahesh Bhatt had to step in and smooth things out. He even came to the sets to make Muzammil more comfortable.
Recently Pooja Bhatt said about working with the actor, “He has a major attitude problem and since he is young, he is full of himself. I have never encountered a situation where somebody who is just beginning their career would take 80 peoples time for granted. He didn’t take the DP seriously, nor the choreographer and neither me, thus, it was necessary for me to take some stringent measures to bring the things in order.” Adding that, “If a person gets abusive, then I think my basic training in life as a women has taught me that if you encounter a man, who is chauvinistic and rude, put him in his place.”
Muzammil has a completely different take on this. “You have got to be given a liberty as an actor to perform on the sets or on the stage in a bid to gain confidence.” He felt she was too high-handed and said, “She is good in her own way, but we had our differences. But now that the film has been completed everything else is history. I don’t want to get into details pertaining to that. My characterization was handled by Mr. Bhatt. He helped me out immensely on the sets and guided me in understanding the character better. Since Bhatt sir had written the character it became easier to see his vision about the character.”
Neither have any respect left with Muzammil going as far as to say, “Look, Pooja Bhatt doesn’t exist for me. I will wait and let my work do all the talking.”
Interestingly it will not be Muzammil’s voice we will hear in Dhoka. His voice has been dubbed and it came as shock to the actor, who read about it in the newspaper. He said, “I have studied Urdu for about 12 years. I have a good command over Hindi as well but it’s their decision I can’t really comment on that.”
It is up to the public to decide whether it is a publicity stunt to get the movie noticed. However, doubts are shed when you read what Bhatt wrote in a chat on India FM. In response to a question about her battle with the actor she answered, “y are we ruining that day for no reason irfan. lets talk about more pleasant things like human rt violations within our country, earthquakes in south america etc.” [sic]
It would seem not to be a publicity stunt at all but an all and out war.