Newbie production house Harsha Entertainment Pvt Ltd, which announced 10 films at one go recently, appears to be in trouble. According to reports, producer Harsha Khasnis and his partners have allegedly been untraceable and incommunicado for over a week, throwing the fate of eight films — Ira, MTV Subbalaxmi, Shaadi Bhagya, Dandayatre, Preethi Praptirastu, Utsava, Second Bucket Balcony and Premadalli — in the doldrums. While Ira is complete and ready to be censored, the rest are all in various stages of production. Reports allege that it could be a multi-crore scam.
Earlier this week, Harsha allegedly sent out messages to his film teams that he would be unreachable for a few days. Director-actor Pavan Wadeyar, who is associated with him on three films, one of which he is acting in, also received the message. “Harsha sent me a message that his mother is unwell and that he would revert in a few days. Since Ira has to be submitted for censor certification, I asked him to send across his identity proof documents. He again responded that he would revert later. Since then, his cell phone has been switched off,” says Pavan.
But what about rumours of alleged swindling by the producer, with many investors apparently running helter-skelter trying to find Harsha? “I am not aware of the extent of money issues involving him. In fact, until demonetization, all payments were on schedule, and slowed down thereafter. I attributed this to the general slow down across all industries, and I actually borrowed money from my pals to keep some of the projects afloat. I hoped to be able to recover these amounts from Harsha later. But now, with him missing and rumours suggesting that he has been hit by an IT raid, I am at a loss of how I will repay people who lent me money. I am more worried about the prospects of the films that are nearly complete and the careers of my associates,” says Pavan.
Director Hariprasad Jayanna, who is making Premadalli, adds, “I have been using some of my own resources to keep the film afloat. In fact, several people associated with the film, including Yogaraj Bhat for lyrics, have not been paid yet, as they understand my situation. The directors of all eight films under this banner intend to meet soon and decide on our next course of action. A formal complaint will be filed with the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce. If representatives of the banner respond positively, we will continue to work with them, else we will request them to furnish no objection certificates, so that we may get other producers to finish the projects.”