Mumbai. After music composer Ismail Darbar accused fellow composer A R Rahman of bribing and “buying” his Academy Awards, a conman has been at large hoodwinking various Bollywood personalities into believing that he was an “agent” who could arrange for an Oscar at a price.
According to sources, this conman has duped at least a dozen Bollywood actors, producers and musicians in the last couple of days.
“There are a lot of Bollywood people who think movie awards could be bought with money and contacts,” Kushagra Kashyap, a Bollywood expert commented, “And I’m not surprised if they would believe a person claiming to sell Oscars; after all they have been dealing with such people at the domestic level.”
“It’s like convincing an Indian politician that Obama wins elections in the US because of his caste,” Kushagra added.
Sources inform that this unidentified conman indeed had been able to convince many Bollywood personalities that he was a genuine agent of some Academy Auctions Inc. who could help them buy Academy Awards. With his smooth talk, the conman had got many celebrities “registered” for his services after they paid him $50,000 as the registration fee.
The conman then asked the registered members to get other Bollywood celebrities registered through them, a process resembling a pyramid scheme fraud, but the conman called it legitimate lobbying process for the Oscars.
“It was clearly a Speak Asia happening to Bollywood,” Kushagra pointed out.
Unconfirmed sources suggest that among those who registered for the scheme included Emraan Hashmi, who was promised “Best Actor in Bad Looks” award, and Uday Chopra, who was promised “Best Actor in Some Role” award.
The conman’s bluff was called off after he approached actor Rahul Bose and offered him an Oscar for “Best Actor in a Thinking Role”.
“I thought for a while and realized that no such category of awards existed,” Rahul Bose confirmed, “But he had vanished from my house by then. People in Bollywood need to be alert.”