Bhansali Productions moves HC to restrain Eros International from exploiting Rights of ‘Bajirao Mastani’

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On Tuesday, Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s production house approached the High Court of Bombay, seeking restraining orders against production & distribution company Eros International Media Ltd from exploiting the rights of the 2015 film Bajirao Mastani. The film, co-produced by Bhansali Productions & Eros International Media Limited, was released in 2015.

This comes a month after the court had directed Eros International to pay the dues of Rs 19.39 lakh to Bhansali Productions for 2013 film Goliyon ki Rasleela Ram-Leela.

A Single-Judge bench of Justice Burgess P Colabawalla briefly heard the plea through videoconference on Tuesday & adjourned it till June 30.

Bhansali’s production house through senior lawyer Zal Andhyarujina along with advocates Nausher Kohli & Parag Khandhar challenged an intimation filed by Eros International with Bombay Stock Exchange of an all-share merger with its parent company Eros International Plc & Hollywood’s STX Filmworks. The proposed merger is likely to be closed by June 30.

The Bhansali productions claim that the merger was being entered into using a misleading disclosure that Eros had some rights to the film ‘Bajirao Mastani’. It further said that neither Eros International PLC nor STX Filmworks are parties to the co-production agreement between the Bhansali Productions & Eros International Limited & therefore they can’t claim any rights on the film. Advocate Akshay Patil for Eros International opposed the plea.

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With regards to the 2013 movie Ram Leela, the High Court on May 4 had noted that respondent companies are situated in the British Isles & California & it will require a detailed hearing to consider the law on whether reliefs can be granted against entities falling beyond the court’s jurisdiction. “I do not think that a case for ad-interim reliefs is made out at this stage, considering that the court is hearing only extremely urgent matters due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Justice Colabawalla had said.

However, the bench had directed Eros International to pay dues of Rs 19.39 lakh to Bhansali Production related to the co-production arrangement within three weeks. The court had said Bhansali Productions will have the liberty to approach it for relief against the merger after the regular court resumes post lockdown.

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