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Last Updated 02.04.2020 | 12:46 PM IST



“Pitobash was discriminated against and I take the blame” – Dibakar Banerjee

Far from shying away from actor Pitobash's accusations, Dibakar Banerjee actually admits to suffering the same snub and humiliation that his actor has so candidly blurted out. Says Dibakar, "I've gone through what Pitobash has. It's not that I was being demeaned."

To go back a bit, Pitobash who is a pivotal player in Shanghai recently accused Dibakar of neglecting and sidetracking the actor during the promotion and marketing of the film. So hurt and angry is Pitobash that he's quoted as openly abusing Dibakar.

Dibakar not only accepts Pitbash's allegations and anger, the director drops a hot potato of his own alleging that he was subjected to the same kind of humiliation.

"Pitobash is not wrong. He was discriminated against. He spoke not in a pre-meditated planned way but in a spontaneous burst of anguish and humiliation. I understand his sense injured pride. I've felt it too. And at least he has me to blame for the discrimination he had to face. I have no one to blame."

Dibakar says he had go through constant humiliation. "Shanghai was a small film. And we were constantly counting pennies. I was shown my place constantly. And the humiliation continues even after the film is released and declared a success. I faced many insults. I repeatedly had to grovel and beg for the smallest of expenses. And when it came to stars, I was treated like a second-class citizen .When we toured cities, the star's rooms would be ready immediately. I'd sometimes have to wait five hours. And believe me, I've less reason to complain than the crew who often had to wait even longer hours for the simplest of amenities. It's the nature of the star system .Once I got lathi-charged in the parking lot of an awards function. Gaya tha award lene maar khake aa gaya."

For a recent global awards event in Singapore, Dibakar says he had to fight tooth and nail to get the Shanghai crew into Singapore and Pitobash and other non-star members of the cast had to be sacrificed from the trip.

Shudders Dibakar. "Just to take the whole crew who really contributed, and I mean the cinematographer, writer, production designer, I had to grovel and beg a whole lot, believe me. I had to sacrifice the actors to get the technicians over to Singapore. I wish Pitobash had seen what I had to go through. I'm being constantly subjected to counter-preferential treatment. At the airport, the star gets picked up first. I have to wait. It continues. Poor Pitobash. I understand his feelings completely."

Admits Dibakar, "Without an actor of Pitobash's talent, Shanghai wouldn't have been possible. That he was left out is unfortunate and I take the blame. I feel there's a lot for me to do to get dignity for my cast and crew. Maybe at some points I slipped up and ignored Pitobash because it's the stars who get visibility for a film. The pecking order is a harsh reality. I am not comfortable with it. I think Pitobash spoke on behalf of many neglected actors in the film industry."

However, Dibakar is quick to point out that everyone was treated equally on his sets. "The discrimination set in during the promotion. I dare Pitobash or any of the actors to accuse me of preferential treatment on the sets. The other day the brilliant Anant Jog came over to my house with a small gift of appreciation. We respect every actor, even when stars become actors."

It's believed that the 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' song was Pitobash's solo but Emraan Hashmi had to be included to make it saleable.

Dibakar refutes that charge. "It was always Pitobash and Emraan. But the lyrics of the song described the life of the political goonda that Pitobash played. And yes, I will hundred percent cast Pitobash again. I think Shanghai has taken him to another level. It's sad he couldn't enjoy the success of Shanghai."

More Pages: Shanghai Box Office Collection , Shanghai Movie Review

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