Is Lakhia-Gupta partnership in trouble?

Jun 9, 2007 IANS

Mumbai, June 9 (IANS) Trouble seems to be brewing between producer Sanjay Gupta and director Apoorva Lakhia. When the entire "Shootout At Lokhandwala" team got together to celebrate the film's success and co-producer Ekta Kapoor's birthday, Lakhia was conspicuous by his absence.

Gupta says he was really surprised by Lakhia's behaviour.

"This was after all Apu's (Lakhia) film and therefore his moment of glory, right? I'm supposed to be just the producer. So why was he missing?"

Getting slightly edgy, Gupta told IANS: "Until a day before the party Apu was in our White Feather office asking for passes for his friends. Suddenly, hours before the bash, I get an SMS from him saying he has to go to IIFA (International Indian Film Academy awards) with the Bachchans (Amitabh and Jaya) because Jayaji called him and in his words, 'fired him' for not being at IIFA."

Lakhia's explanation didn't make any sense to Gupta, who feels he should have been told about the director's IIFA plans.

"If Jayaji wanted Apu at IIFA instead of at his own party I've no complaints. We all have our priorities. Personally, it comes as a shock because just hours earlier he was going through the guest list with me. Apu is free to be where he wants to be. But he should've been man enough to tell me so, instead of slinking away.

"It's difficult to imagine it wasn't pre-planned because you don't suddenly take a flight to London. Look, I really didn't pay any attention to stories about Apu and me being at loggerheads. It was good publicity for the film. But this is upsetting.

"I had gone that extra mile for Apu, signed him after two films. And this is how he treats Ekta and me! I don't know how she has taken it. But to me this is just not acceptable."

Meanwhile, news is that Lakhia's film "Mission Istanbul" on global terrorism for Suniel Shetty as producer almost fell through when the director quoted over Rs.10 million as his price. But later they sorted out the remuneration and now Lakhia is at the helm of the film, which is expected to go on floors soon.

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