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Chopra, Varma deny underworld threats
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Bollywood giants Yash Chopra and Ram Gopal Varma have denied reports that they have received extortion threats from the underworld.
According to reports, the underworld was making calls to the two filmmakers for oversees rights of their films "Veer-Zaara" and "Naach".
But according to a close Chopra associate, "This is all humbug. There has been no extortion threat at all.
"What has happened is that when 'Veer-Zaara' was released, some people claiming to belong to a Muslim fundamentalist organisation said their Qaum (community) has been portrayed in bad light. That's it."
Chopra himself seems far from rattled or scared. He has just returned from Goa after attending the International Film Festival of India (IFFI.
Varma too doesn't seem bothered at all. On the day of the extortion story, he was shooting with Amitabh Bachchan at a suburban studio.
On the following day, Varma was out for dinner with a close friend, with not a single security guard in tow.
Chuckles Varma, "Sorry to disappoint you. But I'm very much alive and kicking. There's absolutely no truth in these rumours. I guess the media needed a new sensational headliner. They got it."
So, how did the story of underworld activities in Bollywood surface again.
According to an inside source, "Extortion threats are no longer an issue. All filmmakers have learnt to live with it.
"In recent times, the threat has diminished considerably. Such stories will only aggravate the situation. We'll have all sorts of criminal elements claiming extortion sums on behalf of X or Y gang."