Maha, the upcoming Tamil film starring actor Hansika Motwani, has been cleared for release after the Madras High Court on Monday dismissed the application seeking an interim injunction on its release filed by the film’s director, UR Jameel.
Maha is produced by Etcetera Entertainment and Malik Streams Production. It marks Motwani’s 50th film and the feature film debut of director Jameel.
As per the court order, the director sought an interim injunction on the film’s release citing that the producers of Maha had violated his “valuable right as the director and author of screenplay” and had infringed on his rights according to Section 57 of the Copyrights Act, 1957.
Jameel claimed that he was not permitted to complete the film “as per his wish” and further added that Maha was edited and completed with the help of his assistant Vijay, in his absence. Demanding an interim injunction on the film’s release, Jameel said that it cannot be released without “vital scenes” amounting to about 30 minutes of runtime.
In addition, he also demanded that he be paid Rs 15,85,000 as part of his remaining salary per the agreement dated July 27, 2018, along with Rs 10 lakhs as compensation.
However, the producers contested Jameel’s application on the grounds that Maha’s shooting was completed and the film was ready to be released on an OTT platform, after obtaining clearance from the censor board. Further, the producers contended that as a “misunderstanding” grew between them and Jameel, over the making and release of the film, a complaint was lodged by the latter at the Director’s Association.
After mediation, both the parties agreed to settle the dispute on February 2, the producers added, and a sum of Rs 5,50,000 (as balance remuneration) was paid to the Director’s Association. In return, Jameel had allegedly agreed to complete the shooting and editing of the film’s final cut, which would be retained by the producers subject to their satisfaction.
When the case was heard on Monday, the producers’ counsel argued that based on the communication of the Director’s Association dated May 8, the agreed amount of Rs 5,50,000 was paid, and the association has issued a NOC (No Objection Certificate) for screening the film. The counsel also stated that the producers have made all the arrangements for the film to released on an OTT platform.
Based on both the parties’ arguments, the court observed that the main grievance of Jameel was “non-payment of remuneration and tweaks [to] the movie without his consent”. It observed that the final outcome of the film is “the prerogative of the producer.”
The court thus concluded that the film is “not a fit case for granting an injunction” and dismissed the case. It further ordered that before Maha’s release, the producers of the film should file a memo “to vouchsafe the receipt of Rs 5,50,000” by Jameel.
In October 2020, Motwani had announced that she had wrapped up her shooting for Maha. The film also features actor Silambarasan in an extended cameo role as well as actors Srikanth, Thambi Ramaiah, Karunakaran, Nasser, Jayaprakash, and Chaya Singh.