There might be trouble on the horizon for ALTBalaji employees. Currently, the House of K is on an hiring spree and is handing out offer letters to people with experience quickly. However, some phone calls later, the truth tumbles out – there’s been a delay in releasing the salaries of the current employees too.
ALTBalaji is in the news and in the midst of controversy since a while. When ‘The Test Case’, the ambitious project starring Nimrat Kaur, Rahul Dev and others was postponed, rumours cropped up that there were creative differences between director Nagesh Kukunoor and the production house. Add to this the rumours of a stand-off between the creative producer of ‘Karle Tu Bhi Mohabbat’ and there was definitely a story somewhere.
According to the grapevine, one of the creative department walked off the show after a disagreement about the background music in a sequence. In the sequence, one of the characters was in a run-down motel. While the creative department wanted a Hollywood song, the memo from up above said that they wanted a retro Bollywood song. That was enough to ignite a stand-off.
Other industry-wallahs have been vocal about the way Ekta Kapoor handles the talent at ALTBalaji. One strong rumour around is that Ekta signs up an actor only after they hand in their numerological chart. Now, we have heard of outlandish demands of a production house, but this is downright out-worldly! In a conversation with an actor/anchor who didn’t want to be named, we found out:
“Balaji is known for its ‘my way or the highway’ way of working right since the TV days. If you ever wondered how such talented actors play such lame characters, here’s the story. No actor gets a bound script. The director and scriptwriter are positively offended if someone asks them for a bound script. Unfortunately, Balaji is known for working only with new faces, who don’t actually have a leverage to decide whether they want to sign up.”
While the controversy regarding the creative aspect is understandable, it’s the financial aspect that’s worrying. We routinely come across news of ALTBalaji tying with other platforms to cast their media. So, the company should be in financially fit.
All this is worrying for the streaming genre in India. ALTBalaji is the most ambitious project for homegrown streaming content. When the biggest name in Indian streaming picks up such bad rumours, we are forced to wonder whether this is a bubble waiting to burst.