Reports of Vashu Bhagnani’s financial troubles worry Bollywood

Veteran Bollywood producer Vashu Bhagnani’s production house Pooja Entertainment is facing a severe financial crisis, forcing the company to take drastic measures to stay afloat.

According to reports, Bhagnani has sold Pooja Entertainment’s seven-floor office in Mumbai to pay off a staggering ₹250 crore debt owed to multiple financiers. The identity of the buyer and the sale amount remain undisclosed, but the plan is to demolish the building and construct a luxurious residential project.

Vashu Bhagnani’s son Jackky Bhagnani recently married actress Rakul Preet Singh in a lavish wedding ceremony in Goa. The celebrations were attended by the Bhagnani family, including Vashu and his wife Pooja. Despite the financial troubles facing Pooja Entertainment, Jackky has taken over the responsibility of managing the company’s operations. However, reports suggest that Jackky did not pay the crew of Pooja Entertainment for nearly two years, even as he had a grand wedding.

According to news reports, the financial troubles at Pooja Entertainment began with the release of Bell Bottom in 2021, one of the first Hindi films to hit theaters post-COVID-19, which flopped at the box office. Subsequent failures of Mission Raniganj and the big-budget Ganapath, which was even rejected by Netflix, further exacerbated the situation.

The final blow came with the disastrous performance of Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, a high-budget action entertainer starring Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff. The film, which was expected to turn the company’s fortunes around, grossed a mere ₹59.17 crores against an investment of ₹350 crores, resulting in losses of approximately ₹125-150 crores for Pooja Entertainment.

In the wake of these financial setbacks, Bhagnani has also laid off nearly 80% of Pooja Entertainment’s employees and relocated the office to a two-bedroom flat in Juhu. The layoffs began in January 2024 after a Tiger Shroff-starrer film was shelved following a two-year struggle to take it on floors, and further reductions were made in April, specifically after the release of Bade Miyan Chote Miyan.

Several crew members have also taken to social media to express their frustration over the delayed payments from Pooja Entertainment, with some urging others to avoid working with the production house until their dues are cleared.

Despite the financial troubles, Vashu Bhagnani and his son Jackky Bhagnani are determined to reboot Pooja Entertainment’s operations and proceed with upcoming projects, including Shahid Kapoor’s Ashwatthama.

The downfall of Pooja Entertainment, once a powerhouse in Bollywood, has sent shockwaves through the industry, raising concerns about the broader financial challenges facing the film sector.

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