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It's become the norm rather than the exception to do favours for friends by doing cameos and item songs for free in their projects. Amitabh Bachchan returned Shahrukh Khan's cheque after doing a cameo in his home production, Paheli. Now Abhishek is doing the same. The Junior B recently shot for an item number for Apoorva Lakhia's Mission Istaanbul sans any compensation leaving Popcorn producer Suniel Shetty stunned!
An overwhelmed Suniel Shetty says, "Abhishek hadn't taken a single paisa even when he shot for One Love in Popcorn's Rakht." He adds, "The funny thing is Abhishek initially agreed to accept the money but then sent the cheque back quietly after he finished shooting. He does not accept gifts so it has become very difficult for me. After shooting for the song, Nobody Like You he quietly sent the cheque back to the Popcorn office."
Suniel adds that Abhishek's item number was part of the script but there were several date problems. "He was shooting for Karan's (Johar) Dostana. It was gracious of Karan to let him go. Abhishek would shoot during the day for Karan and shoot at night for us at Film City. In between breaks, he would sleep in his van. More than returning my money, I was touched by that effort. Abhishek would be so tired shooting for two shifts but he always came on time and shot till he was required."
Suniel adds that it's great having Abhishek on the sets. "He takes over the production and when he does, we chill. While shooting the song, he'd tell me to go home, drink milk and go to sleep by 10 pm as he knows I sleep early." Suniel says Abhishek's item number "is a hip-hop, peppy number choreographed by Rajiv Goswami. Chirantan has scored the music."
Co-producer Shabbir Boxwalla adds about the song. "Abhishek has danced with VJ Pia Trivedi. Bhool Bhulaiyya singer Neeraj has rendered the song. It's a pre-climax number where Zayed and Vivek are on a mission in a hotel to get some vital information. The styling has been done by Falguni. The dark and stark look has been conceptualised by director Apoorva Lakhia while the sets have been done by Suniel Mevrekar." Boxwalla adds, "Abhishek is great fun on the sets. He would play pranks on the assistants and refused to dance till Apoorva danced first. It was then we realised that Apoorva is a good dancer too."