Civic authorities in Bhopal bulldozed the sets of Prakash Jha's new film Aarakshan because it was erected on disputed land. The director says this upset his plans to shoot a few scenes with Deepika Padukone and Saif Ali Khan. Prakash Jha Productions had taken land on lease from the Minal Residency Group, not realising that it was disputed property.
"We had no idea that the land where we had constructed was disputed. But I do feel that even though the demolition had to go through, the authorities knew we had constructed only temporary structures for the purpose of shooting. Why demolish it? It would have been dismantled within a month. Everyone in Bhopal knew it was a set," Jha said in a statement.
"The demolition has definitely upset our plans. The reason we had left the set standing was because there were a couple of patchwork scenes with Saif and Deepika that remained to be shot. Now we have to work out alternative arrangements," he added.
The demolished set that spread over an acre and a half of land included a bungalow that belongs to the character played by Amitabh Bachchan in the film as well as parts of a stable where informal schools were set up.
The demolition was ordered by the district magistrate's office.
"It was an illegal structure, so it was demolished. The high court had directed us to demolish the structure. We did what we were supposed to, because the construction on that area was not legal," said the Additional District Magistrate, Bhopal, Rajnish Shrivastava.