The Welcome Back team may be celebrating, thanks to its big box office success since Friday, but it wasn’t a happy ride all along, as we had reported earlier. Director Anees Bazmee and producer Firoz Nadiadwala had a bit of friction over remuneration towards the end of the film’s shoot. So much so that it could have stalled the shooting weeks before the release date. We told you how Anees had refused to continue shooting, until he was paid his full fees before the schedule was over.
A relieved Nadiadwala looks back at the stressful time as he says, “I didn’t know what to do when Anees Bazmee demanded his remaining fees less than a week before release. I had already paid him Rs 9 crore and needed to pay him two more crores. I had no money to pay him. I pleaded with Anees to wait for the film to be released. I was ready to give a post-dated check even, but he didn’t listen.”
That is when Anil Kapoor stepped in as peacemaker. “Anil is that angel who came into my life during the darkest hour with light and hope. I had hit my lowest low. I didn’t know what to do when Anees asked for the money.”
Nadiadwala admits that he is still reeling under the stress from the time right before the release gave him. “Last minute, we had no co-producer on board and a director who didn’t care about the film. I would’ve been ruined if Anil had not stepped in. He spoke to Sunil Lulla of Eros Entertainment who decided to step into the project at that stage only because of Anil. Sunil Lulla and Anil proved to be my saviours at a time when everybody had turned their back on me,” he says gratefully.
He wonders why Anees couldn’t wait for his dues until the release. “He went to the producers’ association. As if that wasn’t enough, he filed a police complaint against me for payment default. One wouldn’t do this to an enemy, let alone one’s own film.”
Nadiadwala’s rant didn’t end there. “Anees had a problem with everything including my grandfather’s name being in the credit rolls before his name. For the first time in the history of our banner, the director’s name comes before my grandfather’s. He also objected to my name in the credits for shooting the action scenes in the deserts. Arey, why should I not take credit for my work?”
Now that Welcome Back is a hit, he wants to put the entire experience behind him. “But it’s not going to be easy. I’ve been to hell and back. I hope no producer has to go through what I did.”
We tried to get Anees’ side of the story, but the director just said, “I’m hurt, terribly hurt by Firoz bhai’s allegations. I stood by him all through the making of the film, although there were many financial problems.”...