If January is all about award functions, think again. The first month of the New Year 2012 is fast becoming controversial. If Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, that many claim is a rip off of Kevin Costner movie Fandango, digest this. A source from New Zealand: ONE News states that the Government of New Zealand is quite unhappy with the crew of the recently released Abbas-Mustan movie Players.
TVNZ states that the local crews working on a Bollywood movie filmed in New Zealand have raised concerns about work practices on the set. Indian heist film Players was shot in Wellington and Auckland last year and is now playing at cinemas around the country.
Prime Minister John Key hailed it as the start of a beautiful friendship that would pave the way for other Bollywood productions to be filmed in New Zealand. Key announced tax breaks for Bollywood films coming to New Zealand during a trip to India last year.
But local crews who worked on the film are not happy. President of the New Zealand Film Technicians' Guild Alun Bollinger said it took months for the invoices to be paid.
"There was damage to some locations. They worked 30 something, 32 days on the trot. That's a safety concern in itself," he said. "Making it easier isn't necessarily the best approach. What we need to do is find a way to get the two industries to work together, because they have quite a different way of working from us."
ONE News spoke to local businesses who were also unhappy with the production, which they say flouted New Zealand laws and had little regard for health and safety restrictions. Film New Zealand pushed to get Players made here, but say it is not its job to enforce regulations. Now, Kiwi crews are concerned about future productions, when a law change set to loosen immigration restrictions for foreign actors and film workers takes effect in March.
"Through that immigration process, there was a contact between the industry and people coming in so we could negotiate things," said Bollinger. "Losing any point of contact leaves it wide open. We have no way of knowing who's coming or going."