A BAHRAINI sheikh is being sued for £35million after allegedly agreeing to pay a fortune to meet his Bollywood film idols – and then changing his mind.
Hamad Isa Ali al-khalifa, 50, will appear in the High Court this week over claims he reneged on a deal with Egyptian businessman Ahmed Adel Abdallah Ahmed.
The 43-year-old, who runs an events firm, claims the film-mad royal drew up a wish list of 26 Bollywood stars he was desperate to meet.
It was said to include Slumdog Millionaire star Anil Kapoor and former Miss World and Bride and Prejudice star Aishwarya Rai, along with Bunty Walla, Sanjay Dutt, Deepika Padukone and Karishma Kapoor.
Mr Ahmed claims he offered to organise one-to-one meetings at locations in Dubai and India.
But he said: “In spite of the endless amounts of cash he was willing to spend on his obsession, the payments suddenly dried up.”
Mr Ahmed claims the sheikh – a cousin of the King of Bahrain, who has a net worth of £2.9billion – agreed to pay more than £1.1million per star meeting. He also claims he agreed each meeting would last no longer than 25 minutes and the sheikh offered a bonus of £380,000 for every third successful meeting.
However, Mr Ahmed alleges after meeting four actors, including Ranveer Singh and “King Khan” Shah Rukh Khan in 2016, he failed to turn up to two more then backed out, having paid just £2.3million.
And he claims the sheikh pulled out of a £400,000 deal to sponsor The Times of India Film Awards – India’s equivalent of our BAFTAS. Mr Ahmed said: “I was shocked then to find he had met with 15 further Bollywood stars in eight days shortly after he terminated our agreement. Given the positive relationship I felt we had built up during our work, I feel betrayed.”
Mr Ahmed is suing for damages arising partly from breach of contract. But Sheikh Hamad’s team denies a formal agreement was ever made.
In court papers, the sheikh’s defence claims he was told each encounter would cost £30,000 to £50,000 but was later told meeting Shah Rukh Khan would cost ten times that amount.
He claims Mr Ahmed “put unfair pressure” on him for large sums of money and he felt “threatened”.
He also said the meetings were set up at inconvenient times.
Sheikh Hamad has declined to comment.