The troubled production unit for Lamha has run into even more difficulty with the sudden disappearance of Bipasha Basu late on Saturday night. “We don’t know what happened with Bipasha because she has told us nothing,” says director Rahul Dholakia, “She seemed fine in the morning. Suddenly we heard she had left. We can’t understand what happened, and why she left suddenly when Friday onwards things were going smoothly. I also cannot understand how she managed to get back to the hotel from the location in Anant Naag, pack all her luggage and leave in fifteen minutes.”
Shooting in Kashmir has been stopped several times through protests and this latest event must have further damaged the morale of the team. “They don’t know what hit them,” explained producer Bunty Walia, “The morale in our unit is low. Sanjay Dutt who landed here to start work immediately is suddenly at a loose end. He’s taking holidays right now.” Originally, it had been planned to shoot the whole film in Kashmir but with the state once again in the grip of separatist unrest, this idea has been abandoned.
On a personal level, Bips has been a great hit with the locals: “Bipasha is one of the biggest crowd pullers we’ve ever seen,” said a crew member, “She’s been shooting in strife-torn Srinagar for the last two weeks and wherever she goes, her sex appeal draws huge crowds.” However, it’s possible that the crowds pushing in on her might have become the problem for Bips. At one stage the security officers who were supposed to be protecting her from unwelcome attentions backed away when the crowds descended. “But when the crowds descended on me, the security withdrew,” Bips explained, “I don’t blame them. They didn’t want to take a panga with the locals.” But when a local cop also tried to propose to her in front of the cast and crew, she may have felt the whole thing was descending into farce and decided she’d had enough. When asked by a crew member why she was going, she is rumoured to have said he wouldn’t understand because he isn’t a woman.