Producers, Kawal Sharma lock horns

MUMBAI: Kuwait based financiers Ravi Kohli and Neelam Kohli have initiated legal proceedings against director Kawal Sharma for cheating them of Rs 39,80,000 incurred for the making of a feature film, Aavaran.

Sharma has earlier directed films like Heeralal Pannalal, Namak, Paap Ki Kamaee, Gunahon Ka Devta, Dav Pech, Jeete Hain Shaan Se, Mar Mitenge and others. Aavaran, his latest film currently in the works, stars Rajeshwari Sachdev, Harsh Chhaya and others.

Says the film’s publicist, “Ravi Kohli and Neelam Kohli are the producers of this movie. The shooting of the film was completed in 2004. The post-production work is still pending and the film is lying in the cans. With nothing happening, the Kohlis have asked him to return the invested money with interest costs and damages.”

The publicist adds, “Sharma has agreed to return the money. He had offered to settle and had even issued post dated cheques for December 2006, but the cheques bounced.” The publicist adds that producers were told by the banks that the demand drafts he had issued were bogus.

Says the couple’s advocate Rajesh Desai, “The producer had lent money to the director to make the film. But when nothing moved for nearly two years, Kohli demanded that either his film be released or the money returned. Sharma had issued two cheques for Rs two million (Rs 20 lakh) each but these were dishonoured on presentation, for which a police complaint was also lodged. The parties then entered into a memorandum of understanding that Kawal Sharma would settle the issue on payment of Rs five million (Rs 50 lakh) on or before December 2006 in two instalments. Two cheques amounting to Rs 2.5 million (Rs 25 lakh) each drawn on Karnataka Bank, were dishonoured. A legal notice u/s 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act has now been issued to Kawal Sharma for the dishonour of cheques.”

When contacted, Sharma said, “There are some misunderstandings. I do not want to comment more. But I shall sort the matter in a matter of a week.”

Ashok Anchan

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