Jan 2, 2009

Entertainment - Star, Bedi in legal row over Mahabharata

MUMBAI: Even as we ring in the New Year, a Mahabharata Yudh has broken out between Star and Bobby Bedi’s Kaleidoscope Entertainment. The bone of contention: advances which were paid to the latter to produce a television version of the classic Indian epic. Star India has taken producer Bedi to court preventing him from disposing off land the latter had allegedly acquired in Noida and Agra for producing the series.

Star sources indicate that they had paid out Rs 60 million to Bedi for preproduction and production and he has not delivered any episodes of the same. Sources close to Bedi say that a part of that money has been paid to Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi (director) and Faroukh Dhondy (as writer) for research and script development while the remaining was used to turn out 14 episodes of the show. Both Dwivedi and Fraoukh subsequently moved out of the project and Dr Vijay Pandey then took over as director.

Star sources say that Bedi has misappropriated the funds to build assets for himself and hence, should be restrained from selling them.

Sources indicate that they had been giving Bedi a lot of leeway. First, the network bought into the project because of Dwivedi – who earlier played and directed Chanakya – involvement in it. “Dwivedi dropped out, and yet we funded Bedi,” says a Star source close to the deal. “They brought in new people, then they started asking more money. It did not make sense to us.”

Independent sources indicated that Star lost faith in the concept because of the time that Bedi has taken to produce it and the fact that a version of the Mahabharata on 9X failed to grip audiences. “Both the versions had similarities,” says a source.

Bedi and Star were not available for comment.

But clearly this is a battle scene which will take its time playing out. So watch this space.

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