Dharma Productions slapped with lawsuit in US

May 13th, 2009 - 5:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Karan Johar New York, May 13 (IANS) Filmmaker Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions faces a lawsuit in the US for not paying local workers and actors hired for the shooting of a Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor starrer in Philadelphia, reports an American news website.
According to the Philadelphia Daily News website, the Karan Johar-owned production major that tied up with Australia-based Swish Films for the movie shot for a few scenes in Philadelphia last autumn and then left owing money to hundreds of local actors and vendors.

Now, the two companies — Dharma Productions and Swish Films - have been sued, according to documents filed in Common Pleas Court here, the report said. The lawsuit seeks in excess of $150,000 to be paid to in unpaid services and expenses for 25 of the vendors.

Those named in the lawsuit include Fishtown bar Johnny Brenda’s (owed $972), Mike Lemon Casting (owed $7,971) and Kitchen Sink Fabrications (owed $1,060).

The lawsuit also requests a restraining order that would prevent representatives of Dharma Productions from leaving the US with its assets, primarily the footage already shot.

Dharma Productions, which had reportedly changed its name to Karma Films while it continued to shoot the Rensil D’Silva directorial venture, had hired Swish Films to supervise production of the feature film.

The dispute struck when a Swish producer sent out cheques in December last year warning actors, vendors and crew members to wait until after Jan 9 to cash them. The cheques bounced leaving more than $500,000 in unpaid bills.

Dharma has since offered certain workers half the amount they are owed in return for signing a waiver that nullifies any legal action against the company. In other cases, Dharma paid the full amount owed, including to the City of Philadelphia and Teamsters Local 107.

Dharma and Swish will be hit with more litigation this week, said Center City lawyer Michael H. Rosenthal, who said he will file a suit on behalf of 60 actors and independent contractors.

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