The Miser & the camera : Rajeev Masand
This week's blind item, cortesy Rajeev Masand. Quite an easy one ;-)
He may share his second name with his more ‘commercial minded’ movie-star cousins, but he’s had considerable success himself taking the road less travelled. This popular leading man of mostly quirky, often art-house fare is a favourite among a band of younger filmmakers driven to tell unconventional stories within the ‘mainstream’ format.
However, insiders insist that even if his taste in films is unconventional, he’s no different from typical penny-pinching actors who seldom reach into their own pockets to pay bills. While working on a new thriller with a respected young filmmaker he’d previously made a memorable movie with, the actor accompanied the unit production manager on an equipment-hunting session one afternoon. While they were out and about, the actor set his sights on an expensive DSLR camera, but he wasn’t carrying enough money to pay for it. He reportedly asked the production manager to shell out roughly Rs 50,000—the cost of the camera—offering to return the cash the following day. Hardly in a position to say ‘no’ to the star, the manager paid up. Expectedly, the money wasn’t returned the following day, or the day after, or anytime that week. The manager has said he repeatedly sent word to the actor’s secretary asking to be reimbursed for the camera, as he needed to settle accounts with his boss. No response from the star or his secretary.
When a few months had passed without any visible inclination on the actor’s part to pay for the camera, the desperate manager and the film’s producer realised they had no choice but to get the studio involved. Since this wasn’t one of those super-expensive vanity projects where stars are unduly pampered—rather, a tightly-budgeted project—the studio co-financing the movie decided they couldn’t just write off such a significant amount. So, while settling the actor’s fee, they deducted the cost of the camera. Embarrassed that his indiscretion had become public knowledge, the actor didn’t contest the cut. He simply never brought it up with anyone—not the studio, not the film’s producer, and not the poor production manager, who was just relieved that he wasn’t going to lose his job if the money wasn’t recovered.