Actor Taapsee Pannu, Huma Qureshi and director Bijoy Nambiar are among several people from Bollywood to express concerns over the unexpected rise in their electricity bills during the lockdown.

Taking to Twitter, Taapsee shared screenshots of her electricity bill from April to June and tagged power supplier Adani Electricity. The “Thappad” star said she her bill amount for April and May ranged between Rs 3,000-4000 but she was charged Rs 36,000 for the current month.

“Three months of lockdown and I wonder what appliance(s) I have newly used or bought in the apartment only last month to have such an insane rise in my electricity bill. @Adani_Elec_Mum what kind of power are you charging us for?” she wrote on Twitter with the screenshot of her electricity bills for three months.

In a subsequent tweet, the 32-year-old actor said she received a bill of Rs 8,640 for an apartment which isn’t in use. “And this one is for an apartment where no one stays and it’s only visited once in a week for cleaning purpose @Adani_Elec_Mum. I am now worried if someone is actually using the apartment without our knowledge and you have helped us uncover the reality,” the actor wrote sarcastically.

In a statement, Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited (AEML) said they had verified the meter reading of Taapsee and found it to be correct. “Upon receipt of the complaint, we have verified the meter reading and found to be correct,” a spokesperson from AEML said.

Replying to Taapsee’s tweet, actor Pulkit Samrat said his bill was Rs 30,000. Actor Renuka Shahane too shared her bills on Twitter, writing that she was charged Rs 5,510 for May but was billed unexpectedly higher in June by Adani Electricity.

“Dear @Adani_Elec_Mum I got a bill of Rs5,510/= on the 9th of May while in June I got a bill of Rs 29,700 combining May and June where you’ve charged me Rs 18,080 for the month of May. How did Rs 5,510/= become Rs 18,080/?”

Qureshi said she too was puzzled that her bill jumped to Rs 50,000 when it was Rs 6,000 last month. “What are these new electricity rates? @Adani_Elec_Mum Last month I paid 6k .. and this month 50K?! What is this new price surge? Kindly enlighten us.”

Nambiar said he was frustrated with the inflated bill which he received for the current month. “I am just joining the bandwagon to vent my frustration against @Adani_Elec_Mum. Without a single new appliance being bought & barely using air conditioning – my bill for this month has tripled!” the “David” director tweeted.

Quoting actor-comedian Vir Das’s tweet, where he asked if anyone else in Mumbai got an electricity bill that is triple of what they usually pay, celebrities including, Neha Dhupia, Dino Morea and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub replied they are experiencing surge in bills.

Filmmaker Neeraj Ghaywan said it’s “ridiculous” that despite so many complaints, Adani Electricity hadn’t issued even a “correction.”

“So many people talking about the absolutely ridiculous electricity bill inflation by @Adani_Elec_Mum! And yet no correction or apology! Meter reading can’t be an excuse for this broad daylight robbery at a time when most people don’t have sources of income! Horrible,” the “Masaan” director wrote.

When contacted, a spokesperson from AEML said the team has re-started physical meter reading which was halted in March because of COVID-19. “Bills were generated on lower side being an average of preceding three months, that is December, January and February, which are winter months.

“Actual consumption in the months of April, May and June is comparatively higher due to seasonal impact (summer) and increased usage (advent of Lockdown/WfH),” the statement read.

AEML said the consumers will now start receiving bills based on their consumption with “appropriate tariff slab benefits. The bill amount for the past period shall be accounted as per Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) guidelines,” the statement added.

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Pulkit Samrat has three films coming up once the lockdown is over. He will be seen in the Rana Daggubati-starrer Haathi Mere Saathi, Bejoy Nambiars revenge drama Taish and the rom-com Suswagatam Khushmadeed. He says until shooting starts, he is utilising all his energy to hone his craft as an actor.

“We often watch Hollywood films and are impressed by their production, script and performance, and we say how they have invested time in pre-production. I think this is our time to invest in that process. I have signed the film Suswagatam Khushmadeed and we are in the process of the screenplay and other pre-production work. I am constantly in touch with the writers and director. I am focusing on the process from the scratch,” Pulkit told IANS.

The film written by Manish Kishore is to be directed by Dhiraj Kumar. It will be shot extensively in Delhi and Lucknow.

The actor has finished shooting for Haathi Mere Saathi and Taish. Both films are ready to release and the makers are waiting for the suitable time, post lockdown. He also has Salman Khan’s production Bulbul Marriage Hall coming up, which casts him opposite Kriti Kharbanda. The film also has Sunil Grover and Daisy Shah in itscast.

Asked about how he is spending time at home, Pulkit shared: “I am doing a lot of video calls and that is quite cool. I am chatting with my directors on films, what is happening with the post-production of Taish. I am talking to Ritesh (Sidwani, producer of the Fukrey franchise) because, as you know, we had a plan to work on Fukrey 3.”

“You know, more than anything I miss the happy faces on a film set. When a shooting takes place, it is not just us, it is an opportunity for many bread earners — the lightman, the boom man, the sound staff, the people who work to erect the sets, the camera team. That energy and enthusiasm of telling a story is a different magic. I want to go back to the set!” Pulkit signed off.

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'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi' Stars Reunite to Wish Ekta Kapoor on Her Birthday

On Ekta Kapoor’s birthday, the star cast from her daily soap ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’, including Ronit Roy, Mouni Roy, Pulkit Samrat, Hansika Motwani and Ram Kapoor, came together to greet her in a 10 minute long video.

Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani’s friendship with film producer and director Ekta Kapoor is not a secret to anyone. Time and again both have opened up about their long-lasting bond. Recently, Ekta Kapoor turned 45 and her buddy Smriti Irani managed to record a special video featuring the entire cast of famous soap opera Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. Irani posted the clip on her Instagram to wish the producer on her birthday.

In the video, Ronit Roy, Mouni Roy, Pulkit Samrat, Hansika Motwani and Ram Kapoor greeted the ace producer on her birthday. Captioning the post, Irani wrote, “#HappyBirthdayEktaKapoor. Look who all came together after 20 years only for @ektarkapoor (sic).”

In the ten-minute long clip, Irani can be heard saying, “We came together after so many years so that we could wish you a happy birthday. We are those people who perhaps bought our first houses and cars because of you. We reunited because we love you.”

She also praised Ekta for helping distressed children and old age persons. “We love you because not many in India know that while we all celebrated these successes, you quietly helped many kids across orphanages and you fed many elderly across old-age homes, and that is what makes you extremely special,” said Irani.

In the end, Ekta’s mother Shobha Kapoor, father Jeetendra, brother Tusshar Kapoor and son Ravie also wished her. Soon after posting the clip, Ekta commented on the post. She wrote, “This has made me cry!!! Thankuuuuuuu everyone specially uuuuuuuuu!” Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi was aired from 2000 to 2008. In the show, Irani played the role of Tulsi Virani.

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Fukrey 3 Might Be Set in the Backdrop of Covid-19, Says Mrigdeep Singh Lamba

Filmmaker Mrigdeep Singh Lamba, who directed Fukrey and Fukrey Returns, said that he is toying with the idea that the third installment of the franchise might be based during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: May 24, 2020, 9:27 AM IST

Filmmaker Mrigdeep Singh Lamba says he is toying with the idea of touching upon the COVID-19 situation in the third part of his hit franchise film Fukrey. Lamba said like the previous two installments ‘Fukrey’ (2013) and ‘Fukrey Returns’ (2017), the third one too will be high on entertainment and raise a social message. Farhan Akhtar and Riteish Sidhwani’s Excel Entertainment are the producers of the franchise.

The director said the team is contemplating to talk about the current situation of the pandemic and lockdown in Fukrey 3. This part too will have a strong message that people will take away and it will be delivered in a humorous way. The original story doesn’t mention it (about COVID-19). But we have been contemplating. We have discussed it. We need to be careful how we show it (COVID-1 situation) it shouldn’t seem forceful, Lamba told PTI.

He further said if the team is unable to crack an idea revolving around the coronavirus situation for Fukrey 3, he plans to make a full-fledged film on it. ‘We are toying with the idea to do (something) on COVID-19 or the current situation in a humorous way. We will definitely do something about it. We will make something. We need to crack the right idea,’ he added. He said all his energies focused on ‘Fukrey 3’.

‘We had started working on it before lockdown and now we connect via phone. We have got a story in place and the writing is almost 80 per cent complete. We are working on the screenplay, which is almost done. Once things start to normalise and we have rules in place, then we will decide how and when to take it ahead. We will understand the ground reality before going on floors. The production was earlier slated to begin by October-November but nothing is certain now,’ he said.

The film’s primary cast, including Pulkit Samrat, Varun Sharma, Ali Fazal, Manjot Singh, Pankaj Tripathi and Richa Chadda is returning, he said, adding that there would be new additions as well. Asked about reports that Rajkummar Rao and Jahnvi Kapoor’s ‘Roohi Afzana’ which he is producing with Dinesh Vijan, will release on OTT, Lamba said the film is yet to be completed. The movie was earlier set to release on June 5.

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