By: Settu Shankar
Thursday, August 30, 2007
The Madras High Court has put an interim stay on the release of Vikram starred mega budget film Bheema in a case sued by a private financier against the producer of the film.
Right from its launch, the film has been mired in continuous problems. At one stage, the producer A.M.Rathnam washed his hands off the project, and handed over the production in-charge to the director of the movie, Linguswamy. Sources reveal that it was the director himself who arranged finances to complete the film at one stage. Recently, the audio of Bheema was launched in a grand manner, and the director assured everyone present there that the film will be released in September end.
Soon after the announcement came, actor Vijaykanth complained to the Producer's Council to stop the screening of the film until the producer Rathnam cleared his payment dues amounting to Rs.80 lakhs pending with his earlier film Dharmapuri. The negotiations are still going on in front of the Council functionaries to solve the issue amicably.
At this juncture, a private financier Madhesh sued the producer Rathnam in the Madras High Court. He said in his petition that A.M.Rathnam borrowed Rs.25 lakhs from him in the year 2000, but has not settled his dues as promised. A few months back, the financier filed a case and succeeded in getting a stay order to stop the release of the film. But at that time, Rathnam gave an assurance in front of the judge that he would settle all his dues before the release of Bheema. On that assurance only, the judge lifted the stay order against Bheema.
The financier alleged that Rathnam has not settled even a part of the dues. So, the financier has moved the court again, seeking an interim stay on the release of Bheema. A panel of judges comprised Chief Justice A.B.Shah and Jyothimani have gone through the case and stayed the release of the film till further orders come.The panel also ordered A.M.Rathnam to submit his reply on Monday.
The court verdict is akin to rubbing salt in the wounds of producer Rathnam, who is already in dire financial straits.