Abhishek Krishnan



Frauds In Cinema - Part 2, Frauds in Cinema, Cinema


(Disclaimer: All names used in this column are pseudo names. Any resemblance to real people is unacceptably coincidental)
For Part 1 of this series, click here.
I was fresh out of the success from a short film that won the best short film award in an international film festival procuring me a whopping five thousand dollars. Just as the cheque transformed into hot cash in my bank account, I received this call from Tom Cruise. 
He introduced himself as the manager of some ‘forever upcoming’ Tamil Film and he told me that he found my profile in some website, where I had posted my pictures some highly regrettable, desperate, unfortunate day. Tom invited me to an audition and photoshoot in Gobichettipalayam, whispering to me an inside information that I was already selected and that the audition was just going to be a formality. There you go, I suddenly felt I was infused with hydrogen gas that made me ascend high. However, Tom Cruise had a small catch that could have probably reduced the level of hydrogen gas in me a little. He told me that I was to pay the production house ten thousand rupees for makeup and costumes that would be refunded along with my remuneration later on.
I did not worry about it much, as I had brimming bank account figures that blended well with my pride and excitement that moment.
The same time the next day, I was in Gobichettipalayam all set to start something that I had been yearning for years. I called Mr. Cruise to request him to send the pick up taxi that he had promised he would send. Tom Cruise, however told me that there were issues with the pick up and requested me to take a bus to Sathyamangalam after making sure he apologized for the inconvenience caused. When I reached Sathyamangalam, I learned from Tom that some taxi strike had cropped up during my  two hour journey from Gobichettipalayam, which I felt, was a figment of his imagination as I saw at least 263 taxis around me. Another apology landed me in a bus that was heading to Kadambur, a hill station near Sathyamangalam.
Finally by the end of the day, I managed to meet Tom Cruise, the director Steven Spielberg and the producer Walter Disney, who appeared to be really excited meeting me (God knows why - May be it was the money I carried). Although Spielberg and Disney looked like they would pull out my kidneys any moment, I somehow felt Tom Cruise was a genuine man. He was fasting for Sabarimalai and was really very sweet. 
Both Spielberg and Disney complimented me for my acting skills (they had watched my short film) and told me that my life would change after the release of the movie that I was just roped into. As committed, the audition and photoshoot happened the next day after Walter Disney made sure I gave him the ten thousand rupees they had asked for. Spielberg was very overwhelmed with my performance. He said he was going to fix me for the second hero’s role and that I would be required to lose some weight and grow my beard for the character. The shoot was to happen in less than a couple of months, which meant, I had at least a good 50 days time to make those physical changes that was required.
Back at home, I counted every growing inch of my beard as much as I counted down every gram I exuviated each passing day. I looked at myself in the mirror exactly 42 days later and realized that I had lost about 4 kilos. The smile that hid under my thick beard grew wider and more palpable when I received a call from Disney. 
He had news. The shoot was to commence the following week and he had called to discuss some logistics with me. 
“Well, Abhishek,” he started. “This movie will give you a massive break. I foresee a very bright future for you.” He said. 
Those words were so pleasing. 
“But, you see Abhishek, there is a lot of money that has been shelled out for this project and I really want you to be dedicated.”
“Sure sir, I definitely will.” I said
“Just a verbal assurance will not be enough Abhishek. I would need something solid. Please pay us ten lacs for this role.”
 “Don’t be alarmed I will refund the money when the shoot is over.” He said before I could speak up.
“This is just to make sure that you would be dedicated throughout the shoot schedule.”
“I don’t think I will be able to afford that amount.” I said. The smile was all gone now. 
“Then, I don’t think we can go forward with this Abhishek, do think about it. I will wait for your call,” He said and hung up.
All those molecules of excitement that foamed up over those 42 days floated away with all the hydrogen gas that bubbled up in me.. 
This experience taught me a few lessons
  1. Never ever accept to pay money for a role. A genuine person will never ask you money.
  2. Never fall for the words, “you will have a bright future after this project” - that is a common ‘hope giving’ dialogue used by such frauds. First of all, why would they even bother about your future?
  3. Always confirm the authenticity of the producer and the director before jumping into a project.
The shoot did not commence and I did not ever hear about that producer again. My money was gone. But, I was glad that he did not ask me an amount that I could afford as I would have been stupid enough to give him all the prize money I won. But, did I really learn from this experience?

(To be continued)

Click HERE for the 3rd part

Abhishek Krishnan

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