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Lashari kept away from Waar’s profits

June 23, 2014

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Bilal Lashari. -File photo
Bilal Lashari. -File photo

ISLAMABAD: The record breaking revenue of one of the most popular Pakistani films in the recent times, Waar, has become a bone of contention between the investor and the director of the motion picture.

The investor has refused to give Bilal Lashari, the director of the film, his due share and, instead, deposited all the revenue in his personal account. Resultantly, Lashari filed a first information report (FIR) against Hasan Waqas Rana, the investor.

With Shaan Shahid in the leading role, the 2013 film broke multiple records after a prolonged period of recession in Pakistani film industry. The storyline of the film revolved around the war against terrorism and its effects on Pakistan.

In the FIR filed with the Kohsar police, Lashari stated that he was a partner of the investor in the film but Mr Rana deposited Rs200 million in his account, refusing to share any part of the earnings with the director.

While talking to Dawn, Bilal Lashari said the film was made with a budget of Rs60 million, while it did a staggering business worth Rs250 million. As per the agreement, Hasan Waqas was to share 25 per cent of the profit with the director, he said.

“Mr Rana told me that the payments from the cinemas and companies have been delayed. However, I found out later that he wrote a letter to the dealers, asking them to transfer the revenue in a separate account. I got the letter and the details of payments transferred in his personal and company accounts,” Lashari said, alleging that the investor had changed his mind once the film began to generate good profits.

“Waqas stopped receiving phone calls, thus I had to lodge an FIR against him along with all the proofs,” the filmmaker said, adding that he was planning to remake the classic 1979 film Maula Jatt but this attitude might discourage him from investing his energies in the field of showbiz.

Hasan Waqas Rana, while talking to Dawn, said the film was to be completed in 45 days, as per the contract. However, Lashari took three years to make Waar, which increased the expenses manifolds.

“I paid Lashari Rs15 million for his job but when the film was completed, he e-mailed me and threatened to delete the film if I do not share 25 per cent profits with him,” he said, adding he succumbed to the threat at that time.

“The fact is that I have not received all the amount of the film. Moreover, Lashari received many awards for the motion picture but never disclosed who was the investor of the film,” he added.

Investigation officer Mansha Hussain said he was unable to contact Mr Waqas; however, he will try against once the security situation simmers down in a few days.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2014