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The Supreme Court today paved the way for the release of Anil Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan-starrer Fanney Khan by refusing to stay its scheduled screening on August 3.
A bench of justices R F Nariman and Indu Malhotra refused to stay the release of the movie on a plea filed by its producer Vashu Bhagnani's Pooja Entertainment and Films Ltd., which had alleged that he was cheated in respect of the film's distribution rights, which were "surreptitiously" given to Super Cassettes (T-Series).
The petitioner had claimed that the sole distribution rights for Fanney Khan was sold to him for a sum of Rs 10 Crore, out of which he had already paid an amount of Rs 8.50 Crore.
Pooja Entertainment and Films Ltd. has claimed that in November 2017, Kriarj Entertainment Private Ltd. had approached them regarding distribution rights and release of the movie.
"However, in connivance with Respondent no. 7 (T- Series), Respondent no. 1 (Kriarj Entertainment Private Ltd) herein has parted with its entire co-production and distribution rights in the said film in favour of Respondent no. 7, before and after the arrangement and receipt of money from the petitioners, thus constituting a grave misdemeanour, which is liable to be remedied in a most equitable and exemplary manner," the petition had said.
Bhagnani's petition had said that his company had filed a suit in the Bombay High Court against T-Series, KriArj Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. and others.
The petitioner had also said they were oblivious about the case filed by T-Series against Pooja Entertainment and Films Ltd. in the Delhi High Court, in which T-Series had obtained an ex-parte order restraining Pooja Entertainment and Films Ltd. from interfering with distribution and exhibition of "Fanney Khan" and another movie "Batti Gul Meter Chalu".
After negotiations, a memorandum of agreement was executed on December 16 last year, whereby distribution rights of "Fanney Khan" in India were given to Pooja Entertainment and Films, the plea had said.
"Shockingly, and subsequent thereto, without being in the knowledge of the petitioners, it appears that Respondent no. 1 (Kriarj Entertainment) sold its remaining rights of 25 per cent in the film in question, to Respondent no. 7 (T-Series) through a letter dated April 19, 2018 citing financial and monetary constraints, with the result that Respondent no. 7 was given the entire 50 per cent rights in the film, which had earlier vested with Respondent no. 1 after its agreement with Respondent no. 6 (Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Pictures Pvt Ltd) on May 8, 2017," the plea claimed.
"It is respectfully stated that the reputation, fair name and profitability of the petitioners has been adversely and unfairly affected, in a most unjustified and unseemly manner, owing to certain machinations and surreptitious arrangements between Kriarj Entertainment Pvt Ltd and Super Cassettes Industries Pvt Ltd, in relation to All-India distribution rights of film 'Fanney Khan' behind the back and unknown to the petitioners," the petition had said.