The untold truth behind Mersal's magic
Raman Sharma, the Canada-based magician, who trained Vijay for the magic sequences in Mersal had taken to Twitter and alleged that Thenandal Studios Limited has not paid him
Raman Sharma, the Canada-based magician, who trained Vijay for the magic sequences in Mersal had taken to Twitter, on November 15, to allege that the production house Thenandal Studios Limited, hadn't made the payments for his work in the film.
When we reached out to Raman Sharma to elaborate on his complaint, he started off by clarifying he had nothing against Vijay or Atlee. "I have absolutely nothing against the actors of the film, Vijay, Kajal Aggarwal, and Sathyaraj, or the director, Atlee. They were extremely kind to me and treated me like their friend. I even went to dinner with Vijay when he came to Toronto recently. I feel it would be unjust to keep them in the loop for this matter as they had nothing to do with the production of the film."
He went on to recall his experience while working on the film. "During early 2017, I got a call from one of the assistant directors of the team, who had seen few clips of my performance. They asked me to train Vijay and guide the team while shooting the magic sequences. The production house initially thought I was an Indian, but they later found that I live in Canada and asked me to fly down to India. Initially, I was offered a very low pay of 5,000 Canadian dollars, but after several negotiations, I managed to rise it to 7,500 Canadian dollars. They had asked me to work with them for 13 days each in April and May in India, but the shoot extended to June and July. I even travelled with them to Europe and guided them for a period of one month, though they had promised to finish the schedule in 12 days. All the magical equipment used during the schedule was rented by me. I didn't even get that money back from them."
He says that the only form of payment he received from Thenandal Studios was the advance he got on the first day of shooting. "I received one lakh and a few thousands on day one. And they promised to pay the remaining three lakh and thirty-two thousand later. When I was leaving India, many people from the crew insisted that I get my money before leaving, else it would be close to impossible to get it from the producers. But I trusted the production house and left to Canada. They said they would process the payment post the film's release, but the dates just got postponed to December, January and March. When I reached out to H Murali of Thenandal Studios, he said he would process the payment in August. But I never received any call or message from them asking for my account details. When I messaged Murali Ramasamy, he didn't even respond to it despite reading it. When I told H Murali that I was going to tweet about this, he said nobody would pay attention to it and my efforts would go in vain. But, right after my tweet went viral he contacted me asking me to take the tweet down and promised that the payment will be made in a week's time. Hema Rukmani, part of the top-rung at Thenandal Studios, messaged me saying that she wasn't in charge of the department. However, she could've asked somebody to look into the issue and got it sorted."
Raman also shares that he is not the only person to be denied payments by the production house. "I'm not the only person facing this. Many people who were involved in the production of Mersal, reached out to me sharing their support right after I tweeted. But they clearly didn't want to be identified as they fear that they won't get any chances in the future. If people think I'm doing this for publicity, it's nothing but stupidity. I'm a Canada-based-magician; even if I want to gain publicity out of something, I should target only the Canadian and American crowd, not the Indians."
He added, "I know how to get my money back from them, but at this point, integrity is all I expect from them. After this bitter experience, I really doubt that I'd ever work in a Tamil film. It's completely unjust to make a film that talks about corruption and be corrupt themselves. If at all they have plans of making Mersal 2, I want it to be based on corrupt production houses."
When we reached out to the production house for comment on Raman's statement, a representative said, "Payments for every person involved in the film is not directly processed by the producer. It is handled by the managers, line producers and executive producers. He could've actually had a conversation with the right person from our production house to get his issue sorted. But he unnecessarily went on Twitter. If Twitter has a solution to all our problems, we can all do that. We are not going to profit in millions by not giving him the alleged pending amount. The issue will be resolved soon."