Thursday, September 22, 2005

supari loses sanctity

In an unprecedented move, Mr. Madhur Bandharkar, director of films like Page 3 and Chandni Bar, outbid starlet Preeti Jain, leading to information being leaked about Mr. Bhandarkar being a supari recipient.

Arun Gawli and Associates, the firm that was handling Ms.Jain’s case has already sacked Nagesh Pardesi, the supari executive who botched up the assignment. The firm has already gone overdrive into damage control mode. It is carrying out an internal investigation to find out why the counter-bid offer from Mr.Bandharkar was accepted. Industry sources say Mr. Gawli has privately assured clients that corrective measures are being taken to ensure that similar incidents do not recur.

As an industry, the underworld is clearly caught on the back foot. “I thought this sort of thing is rampant in call centers of credit card companies, not in an industry like ours,” said a veteran supari specialist to degreecopy. The supari has until now been Bollywood’s most trusted nuisance-clearance device. Earlier recipients of the supari include such filmi heavyweights such as Gulshan Kumar and Mukesh Duggal. Mr. Bandharkar was the all set to be the recipient for 2005.

In what many believe to be a delightfully simple, yet brilliant move, Mr. Bhandarkar offered to counter Ms. Jain’s bid. It certainly exposed the chinks in Mr.Gawli’s business model. The firm clearly did not have a plan in place to deal with counter-bid offers. To make matters worse, there was pressure on the firm’s bottom line, as well. Which led to the supari contract being cancelled.

It will certainly be interesting to see the industry’s response to the situation. Some are already putting a plan into place where the ‘Auction’ model will come into play. Here both client and the recipient of the supari will be invited to make bids, and the highest bid will settle the issue in a straightforward manner. But many industry veterans bemoan the fact that a few black sheep are bringing the entire underworld to disrepute. “The sanctity of the supari is under threat,” lamented a highly respected don to degreecopy.

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