Blaze on Black sets singes Bhansali

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Mumbai
  • Published 8.06.06
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Mumbai, June 8: The fire that ruined the sets of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black has returned to haunt him.

A Mumbai court has ordered police to register an FIR against the director (in picture) on a complaint from leading antique furniture dealer Farida Hoosenally, who had supplied furniture for the sets. She says some of her antiques were destroyed in the blaze, causing her a loss of Rs 1.5 crore.

Bhansali is alleged to have illegally used cooking gas cylinders for generating the flames in a fireplace created on the sets, erected in an air-conditioned studio.

The court has ordered the FIR to be lodged under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, which is a non-bailable offence.

The fire on February 18, 2004, had destroyed the 15,000-sq-ft studio, prompting its owner, the state-run Maharashtra Film, Stage and Cultural Development Corporation, to sue Bhansali for Rs 6 crore. The case is pending in Bombay High Court.

“Midway through the shooting of the film, the expensive set caught fire and the antique furniture that she had supplied for the film burnt to ashes,” said Hoosenally’s counsel Y.P. Singh.

In October 2005, Hoosenally approached the police to file an FIR against Bhansali and the Kumarmangalam Birla-owned Applause Films, which had produced the film. Some officials of Applause Films will also be named in the FIR.

Magistrate A.G. Mohabey has asked the police to submit a report within two months.

Singh, a former police officer, alleged police negligence in the matter.

“Under section 154 of the CrPC, the police were required to register the FIR right on the day we lodged the complaint,” he said.