Reacting sharply and with laughter to Balwant Singh’s claim, Dhulia says, “Who am I to promise him Rs 40 lakhs? Only the producer of a film talks money. And let me inform this gentleman that no one, not even the film’s leading man Irrfan Khan has been paid that kind of money. Paan Singh Tomar is a small-budgeted film. We shot it on location and lived on bare essentials during shooting. If we had Rs 40 lakhs to give this guy we’d have spent more on promoting out film.”
Tigmanshu completely rubbishes Balwant Singh’s claim that the director visited Balwant Singh’s home in Guda village in 2010.
Protests Dhulia, “I’ve never been to his village or his house. Why should I? We met maybe 2-3 times because, yes, I wanted information on Paan Singh’s life. But never at Balwant’s home. The main meeting took place at a dhaba on a Gwalior highway where we spoke at length about Paan Singh. That conversation has been video-recorded. Beyond that I met Balwant maybe one or twice. That’s it. I also met other members of Balwant’s family including his wife and son. How come they aren’t asking for monetary compensation for sharing Paan Singh’s life with me?”
Interestingly, Dhulia lets out that during the course of his research he also met Milkha Singh, the Olympian athlete on whose life Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is making a film.
Says Dhulia, “Milkha Singh played a very important part in Paan Singh’s life as an athlete. So yes, I met Milkha Singh and many others. But no one else has asked for money.”
Dhulia feels Balwant Singh is just getting greedy on the eve of the film’s release. “These kinds of impediments before a film’s release are being put forward much too often. I think there should be laws against people who jump in with demands days before a film’s release. We are a small film. We can’t afford to give in to such arm-twisting just to free our film from humbug.”