|Early Times Report|
Jammu, Mar 9: Even as the state government is facing heat for having asked the migrant Kashmiri Pandits to act for "paltry sum" as extras for an upcoming Bollywood film being shot here, the relation between a Minister and the film producer has come under scanner.
Commissioner (Migrant) Relief and Rehabilitation, Jammu, vide a formal government order issued vide number RRCM/DCR/2017-18/1058), asked Kashmiri Pandits residing in migrant camps at Jammu to act in the shooting of upcoming movie produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra Productions.
The government has asked the migrant Pandits, scheduled to be paid Rs 850 per day, to submit application forms to 'camp commandants' by March 17, 2018.
But there are many apparent flaws in the order. Whereas "extras" who work in movies in Mumbai are paid around Rs 4000 per day, the government of Jammu and Kashmir has fixed "meager" rate for migrant Pandits.
The bigger question, however, is how can state government act like a "recruitment agency" for a Bollywood movie.
While this question has triggered a nationwide debate, the Commissioner Migrant spilled the beans before media saying Tourism department was linked to the move. "That we'll have to discuss with tourism department," the official said.
With the news of Tourism department "connection" spreading like wildfire, the Pandit community has sought a probe into the alleged link between the government and the Bollywood for "exploiting and insulting migrant Pandit community."
"He(Minister) has been a former cinematographer and his connection with the film producer and government's un due largesse to the film crew needs to be probed," said a representative of a prominent forum fighting for the cause of migrant Pandits.
The Pandit community believes that government by offering them to work as "extras against peanuts" in the movie has hurt sentiments of the migrants.
Producer of popular movies like 3 Idiots, PK and the Munna Bhai film series, Vidhu Vinod Chopra had earlier shot Mission Kashmir starring Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt and Preity Zinta in Kashmir.
A senior official privy to the development, on the condition of anonymity said: "We had advised mantri ji not to make government party to such controversial movies and why should official machinery behave like film crew, but he didn't listen to our humble pleas."