Director Vishal Bhardwaj has filed a complaint against an imposter, who was luring young girls to audition for roles in his films by posing as a financier.
The scam reportedly came to light after Aalaap Majgavkar, editor of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Rangoon, got a call from a friend enquiring about the director’s next. The friend asked if Bhardwaj was directing a film for Anurag Kashyap’s production house, Phantom Films, with Shahid Kapoor in the lead.
Since Majgavkar was not aware of any such film, he informed Bhardwaj who filed a complaint against the impostor.
According to the police, the accused was posing as a financier and using the director and actor’s name to get young girls to audition for the role of a female lead.
The accused, who was using the alias Mann Kapoor, would lure aspiring actresses with his big budget talks and ask them to send their bold pictures on his WhatsApp number (07715929409) to get shortlisted for a screentest.
When a mother of a 16-year-old got in touch with him, he told her to send her daughter for an audition. When the mother resisted, claiming that her daughter might be too young to star opposite Shahid, he told her that the film was about a scandalous relationship and it could be a perfect launch pad for her daughter’s career.
When the accused told her that her daughter will have to pose for semi-nude pictures and do intimate scenes, the mother hesitated and asked to speak with the director. But the miscreant told her that it would only be possible to talk to the director once her daughter was selected.
The mother asked him for some time, and in the meanwhile called a friend to enquire about the movie. The person then called Majgavkar to confirm.
Fortunately, before the teenager could arrive in Mumbai, the scam came to light and Bhardwaj filed a complaint with Amboli police station.
Amboli police are still investigating the case and no arrests have been made so far.
“It’s shocking that people will stoop to such levels. We know of this particular girl but God knows how many others have fallen into the trap. We have urged the girl to come down from Pune and file a complaint tomorrow so we can get this guy arrested,” Bhardwaj told Mumbai Mirror.
Incidentally, this isn’t the first case of an impostor luring aspiring actresses to send their pictures. Another impostor, taking advantage of the fact that Bhardwaj was not on social media, had initiated contact with a lot of girls by creating a fake Facebook page in the filmmakers name.
Earlier this week, Crime Branch arrested a 33-year-old who was posing as director Ayan Mukerji on Facebook and asking girls to send their bold pictures under the pretence of taking them on as a female lead.