Top Bollywood production house Dharma Productions, owned by director Karan Johar, has been accused of dumping garbage on the roads of Goa after a film shoot, and the issue has now snowballed into a blame game.
A day after Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut and Goa-based actress and activist Poonam Karekar Govekar slammed Johar for his company’s alleged misdeed, a Dharma Productions line producer (responsible for the smooth functioning of the local shoot) claims that such allegation are attempts at sullying the image of his native place.
“No one knows the ground reality. Kangana Ranaut does not know anything about what is happening here. This is wrong. She is spoiling Goa’s name,” said Dilip Borkar, who called a press conference in Panaji, on Wednesday. He also claimed he didn’t know why Johar’s name was being dragged into this controversy.
After videos of Johar’s production house allegedly leaving heaps of waste on Goa roads emerged, the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), a government agency which oversees film-shoot related regulation, issued a show cause notice to Borkar. The notice had said that norms of garbage disposal were not followed, while disposing non-biodegradable waste, which included PPE gear used in the film shoot. Borkar has denied the charges, claiming the garbage was disposed in a timely manner, except for one day. He claimed he had delegated the task of clearing up the mounting waste to a local contractor. But Garekar, who has photographic and video evidence of the waste that were improperly disposed, isn’t buying into his theories.
“The garbage was lying unattended and strewn all over the place for many days and not just one Sunday and the local residents are witness to the same … The line producer is trying to save Karan Johar’s [expletive],” said Garekar in a statement on Wednesday. She also slammed Johar for trying to pass the buck to save his reputation.
“He has to be responsible for the failure and actions of his line producer,” she added.
On October 27, Ranaut tweeted: “Movie industry is not a virus just for the moral fibre n culture of this nation but it has become very destructive and harmful for the environment also, @PrakashJavdekar ji @moefccAsee this disgusting,filthy,irresponsible behaviour by so called big production houses, pls help.”
Goa-based activist Flynn Remedios from the Lokhancho Ekvott movement slammed Johar.
"We have approached the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court in the matter. We will now meet Karan Johar and Dharma Productions in court. They can prove their case there. We have ample technical evidence to prove our statements. In the first place, they should not have dumped the garbage by the roadside. The photos and videos clearly show the garbage lying by the roadside including biomedical waste. The garbage should have been collected in special biomedical units," said Remedios in a statement. He claimed he’s being pressurised not to rake up this issue.
Johar, who was filming Deepika Padukone’s new film in Goa during lockdown, is yet to comment on the latest developments.