Comedians Uncles Bala and Peru in hot water over damages claims
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Durban - THEY’RE household names on the comedy scene but instead of laughs, anger followed uncles Bala and Peru after they visited Durban.
Vikash Mathura and Ray Maharaj, who developed the characters Peru and Bala on Lotus FM several years ago, have been shooting a movie in recent months.
After shooting scenes at several local locations, two businessmen are far from happy.
This comes after one was left with property damage and an unpaid food bill, and the other had to wait four months for the crew to return furniture.
A television set at the Ahmed Al-Kadi Private Hospital was allegedly also damaged when they filmed at the hospital’s premises in Mayville. It has not yet been replaced or fixed.
Yesterday Mathura and Maharaj, who are joined by Jack Devnarain in the movie, said they were only recently informed of the unpaid bills.
In November 2019, Infest Studios, who oversaw the logistics for the production team, arranged to use the sports bar at the Britannia Hotel for a scene in the movie.
They also borrowed three lampshades worth R1000 each from Allen Tobin Joinery in Briardene.
Carrie Davis from Infest Studios and the hotel management allegedly had a verbal agreement that Infest Studios would be liable for any damages.
Another member of Infest Studios took responsibility for returning the lampshades.
Linkey Moodley, Britannia’s owner, said during the two-day filming process, a glass picture frame housing two rugby shirts was cracked.
Furthermore a food bill of R650 was not settled.
“I am not concerned about the money but I am angry the team did not keep to their end of the agreement. We allowed them to use the bar and we did not charge them any money. They removed the glass frame with the two rugby jerseys to put up their props, and they did not bother to inform us it was cracked.”
He said he received little information when he queried the matter with Davis.
“Months have gone by and I still did not receive feedback. They stopped taking my calls. I even called Vikash Mathura, but still got no answer.”
Moodley said the frame would cost about R3 000 to repair, but he was not prepared to do it.
“They took advantage of us. When they needed the space they answered their phones. We were good to them but they did not keep to their end of the bargain. I am disappointed. I would never expect the movie industry to have
such dishonourable and arrogant
The other businessman, Allen Tobin, said the lampshades were only returned in February.
“The items were supposed to be returned after four days, but it took them four months. Every time I called the team for the items I would get an excuse.”
Tobin said he loaned the lampshades to the production team in good faith. “I trusted them. They have proved to be untrustworthy because they did not keep to their word. I did not charge them a rental fee.
“I was not getting any exposure from this for my business. I did it to assist our local film industry but they just took advantage of me.”
Davis said they were no longer part of the production team.
“I am aware of Linkey’s claim. When we were still a part of the team I sent his claim to our insurers, but the excess on the damage was more than the actual repair.
“I was not aware of the food bill.”
Davis claimed her company had terminated their contract with Mathura, Maharaj and Devnarain in January.
“Linkey is not the only one waiting for payment. A room at the Ahmed Al-Kadi Hospital was also used to shoot a scene.
“One of the lights damaged a television.
“I believe they have not been paid.
“There are also cast and crew members who are waiting for their salaries. We pulled out of the production because it was not viable for us financially.”
Davis said Britannia would now have to seek payment from the executive producers - Mathura, Devnarain and Maharaj.
Mathura said they were only made aware of the unsettled claims for the damage to the hotel and the hospital three weeks ago.
“We are the executive producers. We normally don’t get directly involved in these matters. We had a company handling the damage claims and payment of staff.
“The company, however, failed to send the incident and damage reports from the locations to the insurers. Now myself, Jack and Ray are liaising with the insurers to ensure the payments are made.”
He said 90% of the cast and crew had been paid.
“There is only 10% who had not been paid because they did not have documentation for the payments to be processed.
Mathura claimed they had terminated the company’s services.
Devnarain said: “Those that helped with the locations are very important to us.
“They have not been abandoned. They are integral to us.”
The management of the hospital declined to comment.