Producer Pahlaj Nihalani has hit out at actress Kangana Ranaut, who mentioned his name and a film they worked on unfavourably.
In a video interview for Mid-Day’s Sit with Hitlist programme, Ranaut spoke about her first project I love You Boss, where she claimed that producer Nihalani had asked her to shoot in a robe without any undergarments. The interview is published on Youtube.
Ranaut had stated that it felt like she was doing a photoshoot for a soft porn film and that’s why she had backed out of the film.
Nihalani has now hit back at Ranaut, claiming that he had no role to play in the photoshoot and Ranaut backed out because she had an offer from Mahesh Bhatt for Gangster (2006).
“There was just a reference given by the photographer to Ranaut. I wasn’t even present during the photoshoot. She was called at 6am and it was finished in an hour. It’s not the producer’s job to do a photoshoot. How it was shot, it was entirely her wish. She had no reservation over the poster shoot, then why is she speaking about it now? I had spent Rs80 lakh on advertising for the poster,” Nihalani told Cinestaan.com.
In the video interview, Ranaut says, “So I just had a satin robe for a show-girl pose, from which I had to stick my leg out, coming out of darkness. They should at least have given some tapes. I was supposed to play a young girl lusting after her middle-aged boss. So it was a soft-porn sort of character. And I had this epiphany that I can’t do this. I felt like this is exactly what my parents were talking about.”
The veteran producer reminded that it was he who gave Ranaut her first break in the industry and she opted out of the film after she got an offer for Gangster, also starring Emraan Hashmi.
“Ranaut was roaming around for five years and not getting work. It was I who had signed an exclusive three-film deal with her. It was this poster through which she got visibility and other producers started approaching her,” he claimed.
Nihalani was disappointed that Ranaut described his film as “soft porn”.
“I’m not a porn filmmaker. Look, I had first approached Amitabh Bachchan for the film. Bachchan refused as he was doing a similar subject, Cheeni Kum (2007),” Nihalani said.
“Then I approached Rishi Kapoor, who was keen but had no dates. Shatrughan Sinha was then signed. However, Kangana later told me that it was Zarina Wahab who told her that if she did a film with Shatrughan Sinha, her career would be ruined. That’s why she opted out of my film,” Nihalani added.
Nihalani claimed that he lost Rs1.50 crore on that film, but he did not have a grudge against Ranaut. The Rangeela Raja (2019) filmmaker said that Ranaut had forgotten how he had once helped her resolve a passport issue. “It was around 2011-2012 when I supported her in resolving a passport issue. She was supposed to fly for some movie, but her passport was expired or she gave some wrong address to the passport authorities. I helped her to get her passport.” said Nihalani.
Nihalani warned Ranaut against from making such allegations against him. “Kangana is a thankless person. She should not mess with me. She has been labelling accusations against all those who supported her. She shouldn’t think that everyone is a weak person. She shouldn’t forget that had I not relieved her from my film, she would have been a nobody,” warned Nihalani.
The producer claimed that he sent a message to Ranaut, who replied late saying she would speak to him today, but at the time of communicating with us, there was no call from Ranaut.
Nihalani’s long-cherished film I Love You Boss is being revived with young actress Mishika Chourasia in the lead. Nihalani is still looking to cast the other actors. The producer is hoping to release the film this year.