The cast and crew of Dharmesh Darshan's latest offering, Aap Ki Khatir are haunted by the eerie experience they had while shooting at a palatial villa that belonged to former governor general Lord Robert Clive, at Knighton in London.
Crewmembers staying at the villa, located in the countryside of Knighton, reported seeing an apparition resembling Clive himself, walking the corridors in the late evening.
The film is a romantic tale with a bunch of characters, and the cast includes Akshaye Khanna, Sunil Shetty, Dino Morea, Priyanka Chopra and Ameesha Patel.
Says Shetty, "It's beautiful, but isolated countryside, and the palace we were shooting in belonged to Lord Clive. Initially, a crewmember reported a ghostly experience, but nobody believed him. As the days passed, all the crewmembers were convinced there was a spirit roaming around. But I've not personally felt it."
Does he believe in spirits? "Yes, I do. I'm from Mangalore, and we believe in rituals where we pay tribute to the bhootas (meaning spirits) of our ancestors. We believe bhootas protect our homes. Every April, I go to my ancestral house in Mangalore, to perform these rituals."
Priyanka and Ameesha were unaffected by the sightings. Says a crewmember, "Our actors were not staying at that villa, so they were fortunate enough not to experience anything uncanny. But they have been talking about it, and we informed Dharmeshji as well. Thankfully, the spirit was harmless."
Says an assistant director, "It could be a hallucination. But there was an uncanny feeling all the time. It could be because of the low temperature and damp atmosphere."
What a relief!
Some crewmembers chanted the gayatri mantra, while others prayed for protection against the spirit. "I always carry Nitayanand Swami and Sai Baba wherever I'm heading," says Shetty. "And of course, a diya, which I light to overcome stress."