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Ekta calls off 500 crore deal with Sanjay Dutt

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The 500-crore Balaji Motion Pictures-Sanjay Dutt Productions alliance is now null and void. Says a source in Balaji, "In July this year, Balaji Motion Pictures and Sanjay Dutt Productions signed a nine-film deal to be realised over a three-year period at the cost of Rs 500 crore. Sanju was to act in these films and was even given a 5-crore cheque as a signing amount. Now, the deal has fallen through and he has returned the signing amount to Balaji."

There were differences between Ekta and Sanju which led to this split. It was Ekta's decision to call off the deal. There were major differences in the style of working of the two production houses. The professional split was catalysed by the fact that Sanjay Dutt did not publicise Balaji Motion Pictures' last film EMI. He didn't even make it to the promotional event. And EMI failing at the box-office really saw the end of Sanju's deal with Kapoor's production house. The film industry facing the heat of the current recession, is being touted as the official reason for the parting of ways between SDP and Balaji.

The source continues, "Though Balaji sold EMI to Sahara, they suffered losses too. Ekta is disgruntled about the way EMI was promoted. The lack of commitment and interest by some stars has upset her a lot. At the last EMI press conference held a couple of days before the release only Ekta and her dad were present neither Sunil Shetty (co-producer) nor Dutt showed up. Balaji wants accountability in all its operations and only wants to work with people who understand this."

When contacted, Ekta Kapoor maintained, "Balaji has no issues with Sanjay Dutt. He's a rockstar! I would love to cast him in my films." The source says, "After suffering losses in Mission Istaanbul and EMI, Balaji is being very careful about the films they will produce. A CEO with an entertainment background from the corporate industry has been hired, who will take all the decisions from scripting to post-production. There will be accountability and profit-showing accounts at the end of the year."

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