Star Bharat on Monday launched its non-fiction offering Gangs of Filmistaan. Even before the team could celebrate the launch, the show has courted controversy. Bigg Boss 11 winner Shilpa Shinde, who is part of the show, has decided to quit owing to disagreements with producers on casting, working conditions and more.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Shinde shared that the makers broke her trust by getting Sunil Grover on board. She had categorically informed them that she doesn’t want to work with him. While Shinde has no personal issues with the actor, she shared that Grover somehow overshadows everyone when he is around.
“He is a great man, and also a great actor. However, I feel he wants to hog all the limelight when he is performing. This is unfair to other actors. The makers are promoting the show as Shilpa’s comeback and they have literally pushed me to the back. When I was approached, I had told them that I don’t want to share screen space with Sunil ji. However, a few days later, I got to know he is also part of the show. The makers assured me that he will have his separate acts. But that didn’t happen. He is now part of all skits, and it has become his show completely. No one else in the team is speaking, for reasons they know best. However, I cannot stand this partiality,” she said.
Shilpa Shinde has worked with the same team, including Sunil Grover, in Dhan Dhana Dhan. When asked what transpired between both the projects, she said, “I had similar issues back then also. However, just after winning Bigg Boss, I wanted to entertain my fans, and thus took up the show. Not wanting to have a similar issue, I shared my concerns from the start. However, I don’t think things will change, and thus it would be better for me to quit. I cannot work where an artiste is disrespected. They have just taken us for granted.”
Shinde further raised concerns about the working culture of Gangs of Filmistaan. As per the actor, scripts wouldn’t be ready while they were on set, and thus they had to wait for long hours to shoot. “As per the protocols, the shoot has to happen between 7 am-7 pm, but because of such delays, we ended up shooting till late nights,” she added.
Shilpa Shinde recently took a medical leave after she caught a cold, and shared that no one from the team even called in to check on her. Stating that she feels the makers have taken the cast for granted, the actor said, “Amid the pandemic, they should be thankful that actors are working for them. Instead, they are making us work like machines. This is unacceptable. There is no proper arrangements on set, be it food, costumes or even basic safety measures during coronavirus. I just cannot work like this.”
The Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain actor shared that while the channel has assured that they will look into the matter, she is not too keen to go back.
Gangs of Filmistaan producer Preeti Simoes, however, had a different tale to tell. Speaking to us, she shared that Shilpa Shinde hasn’t shared any grievances with them. She hasn’t even been responding to their calls and messages. “We are open to discussion and even willing to resolve her issues. But she needs to speak to us first. For us, at the moment, we are waiting for her to recover from the cold and come back to shoot.”
Responding to Shilpa’s concerns, Simoes said that the audience can compare Sunil Grover and Shilpa Shinde’s screen timing by watching the first episode. “Why would we have gotten other actors if we wanted to make a show on Sunil?” she questioned.
As per Preeti Simoes, Shinde is the highest-paid actor on the show, and it would have been foolish to not utilise her. “Shilpa is such a good actor. Why will we not get her to perform? Also, Sunil is part of one gag, while other actors are doing the second gag. I am wondering how she felt she was being sidelined given she played the lead in the acts we’ve shot. She can happily pick up the other act if she doesn’t want to share screen space with Sunil. Also, none of the actors have any issue with Sunil or the format. Even Shilpa knew about it, we don’t know why she is crying foul now.”
Simoes also assured that the team has been following all protocols for shooting as directed by the authorities. “There is constant check by concerned authorities. Also, I don’t think anyone wants to risk the virus at the moment.”
Gangs of Filmistaan airs Monday-Friday at 8 pm on Star Bharat.