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Row over Sushmita's dress

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By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Monday, June 25, 2007
London-based designer Venkat Chennubotla accuses producer Vivek Vaswani of non-payment while the latter accuses him of attitude. Venkat Chennubotla claims producer Vivek Vaswani and director Mudassar Aziz are using clothes designed by him in the Shah Rukh Khan-Sushmita Sen starrer, Dulha Mil Gaya, but haven't paid for them.

Venkat, a graduate from the London College of Fashion, says, "A common friend, Sevy Ali, introduced me to Vivek. Both he and Mudassar saw my portfolio and asked me to design costumes for the film. They even confirmed my appointment and asked me to change Sushmita's look."

Venkat says he sent nearly 65 designs by email and received text messages from Mudassar saying Sushmita liked his work. However, his worst fears came true when both Vivek and Mudassar stopped communicating with him.

"A day before I was to leave for India, I got a call from Mudassar asking me to postpone my trip. I felt something wasn't right but he said there was nothing to worry about. But after that phone call, they stopped responding," claimed Venkat.

Venkat says he quit his job at London's Visual Studio 7 for Dulha Mil Gaya and is deeply upset with the treatment.

"I left my job because this is a big film for me, not only in terms of publicity but also in money. But I haven't been paid a single penny for my work. I lost a lot of time and money in researching the ensembles, making international calls to them and also on my ticket to India. What has happened is an absolute shame," he rues.

However, Vaswani brushes aside all accusations. "It was a mutual decision to part ways and Vikram Phadnis is doing Sushmita's clothes. We approached Venkat as we were looking for a new designer. When he first sent us six designs over email, we liked them but made it clear that Sushmita would make the call. Later, when he sent more designs, we realised he wasn't good enough to design her entire wardrobe," says Vivek.

Vaswani says he sent Venkat a mail explaining why they couldn't use his designs. "The problem is that Venkat has too much attitude. When we asked him to come to India, he wanted to be put up at a particular place, wanted particular food, etc. I would have given in to his demands had his work been extraordinary, but it wasn't," he said.

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