21st July 21, 2013
The Divisional Commissioner,
I would like to draw your attention to an extremely unfortunate incident that occurred whilst I was filming at the Udaipur Collectorate on July 20,2013-a holiday, where my unit members & myself were physically & verbally abused and my co-producer even dragged to the local police station and detained illegally (A criminal act) by SP Hariprasad Sharma for no fault of ours.
I would like to clarify at the onset that we were filming at the collectorate with the necessary permission duly given to us on paper by the Collector himself. A copy of the letter is enclosed for your perusal and a copy of the same was sent to the local authorities in advance and anticipation of our shoot as well. Despite this my shooting was interrupted by the SP who barged right into the middle of my shot, slapped and punched three of my light-men, attempted to arrest my director Prawaal Raman, intimidated my lead actor Randeep Hooda and hurled the choicest abuses at each and every one of us. I was shocked to say the least at this boorish behavior and went up to the SP with folded hands, introduced myself and asked him to outline to me what exactly my unit did wrong to inspire such a violent attack from him. His refused to give me a rational response and went on to abuse me to my face with unrepeatable Hindi terms of abuse directed at my mother and shrieked ‘you do not know the power of a SP! I will arrest you now’.
I stood my ground and asked him on what basis did he illegally detain by co-producer Vikram Khakhar and on what basis was he now threatening to arrest me as I had the requisite permission from the collector to film there. He then shrieked, “The collector is no-one to give you permission” and stormed into his cabin whilst threatening me with an FIR.
I rushed to the collector’s house to outline what happened and he re-instated that once he had sanctioned the permission to us nobody could raise any objections and even called in the SP who blatantly lied about being kept in the dark about the film shoot even though the copy of the permission letter was copied to him as well as police protection accorded to us by the SP himself.
I also asked him on what basis did he drag my co-producer Vikram Khakkar to the police station and detain him illegally, to which I got no valid explanation and just a terse “we will release him now”.
Sir is this the way an SP is meant to conduct himself? Can the ego of one man hold an entire unit to ransom and create a riot like situation? Are the police and it’s machinery meant to protect us or terrorize us? Is the uniform accorded to men like Hariprasad Sharma as a tool to intimidate, bully and abuse people who are going about their work peacefully? In a time where India is facing it’s darkest hour with regards to violence against women, can an SP be allowed to intimidate and abuse me in full view of over 200 people?
We artistes are cultural ambassadors. When we set our films in cities like Udaipur we ensure there is a surge in tourism as well. Is this how we are welcomed? That too, at a venue like the collectorate that belongs to the Government of India before it can be ‘claimed’ any individual no matter what his position. I have been coming to Rajasthan to film for over ten years and never has such an ugly incident occurred prior to this. Also what is most distressing is that the SP is giving statements left, right and center to all possible media sources where he insists we were filming at the collectorate without permission. Sir this is a blatant lie and the letter from the collector, which I have enclosed, exposes that lie and reveals an extremely prejudiced & dishonest attitude.
And while I do not expect the SP to display a conscience and acknowledge that his was a gross over-reaction, I trust and pray that you will please ensure this sort of incident never occurs with everyone again. Rajasthan is a state that exemplifies grace and hospitality and I shall like to believe that a man like MR. Hariprasad Sharma and his gross misuse of his position and power is an exception rather than a rule in this glorious state.
Thank you very much in anticipation of justice being served,
Names of People who were physically abused by SP HARIPRASAD SHARMA and his team which included Addl SP Sudhir Joshi.
· Pramod Gowda: Hit on the back of the head
· Ashok Panda: Slapped on his face
· Noor Mohammed Shaikh: Slapped on his face
· Vikram Khakhar: Pushed, arm twisted and dragged to the Police station
· Other key unit members were abused and pushed around by cops