This time the customs decided to raid the Cannes brigade. The director and producer of the only Indian film to be in competition this year at Cannes – Peddlers were held up by the customs. Director Vasan Bala and producer Guneet Monga were held up on Wednesday evening at the Mumbai International airport when they were coming back from their very lucrative trip to Cannes. And all for what – The Indian customs caught both Vasan and Guneet at the airport for carrying iPads.
Anurag Kashyap, the producer on the film Peddlers, gifted his director Vasan and his co-producer Guneet with iPads to celebrate the success of the screening of Peddlers as part of the competition for the International Critics Week at Cannes Film Festival 2012. Since these were brand new, the custom officers asked for declarations on the pieces. Clearly, the gesture of the gift was reduced to a bad episode and bad memory for both Vasan and Guneet.
Say’s a production insider, “They asked for a bill and made them pay 36% duty for a gift that they got from Anurag. Moreover, the custom officials were extremely rude and told both that they should know this before traveling that there is a duty on carrying iPads. It was extremely embarrassing and frankly very unpleasant. They felt terrible that this was the welcome they got in their homeland after bringing pride to the country at an international platform.”
When contacted, director Vasan Bala said, “It’s strange that laptops are ok because it’s old technology but since the iPad is new it gives some scope for detention and scrutiny. I also over heard it’s an either/or situation either one laptop or one iPad. Both apparently can’t be carried without declaration. So Strange!! Anyway it’s now on the list with cameras for declaration. It’s best to carry nothing.”
Producer of Peddlers, Guneet Monga said, “Our iPads were gifted to us by Anurag for the successful screening of our film Peddlers at the Cannes Film Festival. How do they expect us to carry receipts!! It’s very troublesome and unnecessary and tall that the custom officer was focused on was to show off on how they stop all Bollywood celebrities. Very disappointing to land in our own country and be treated like this. While I tried to reason it out I was told that I would be put behind bars. For what is something I’d like to know?”
Peddlers stars Gulshan Devaiah, Siddharth Menon, Nimrat Kaur, Kriti Malhotra directed by Vasan Bala, produced by Guneet Monga and Anurag Kashyap and distributed by Eros International.