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Neerja Bhanot’s Family Accuse Biopic Producers Of ‘Criminal Conspiracy’

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The family of Neerja Bhanot, the slain purser of Pan American World Airways, has reportedly moved a Chandigarh court, accusing the film’s producers, Atul Kasbekar’s Bling Unplugged and Fox Star Studios, of criminal conspiracy.  

Deccan Chronicle reports that Bhanots’ legal counsel, Hemant Saini, has said that the producers did not stick to the agreement that was made before the biopic went on the floors. 

“The parties entered into an agreement which promised the family 10 per cent profits, over and above the initial stipulated amount. Now, the producers are indicating that the contract referred to the percentage made by Bling alone, and not by both the producers. They claim that the amount the family is demanding belongs to Fox, which, they say, is not a party to the agreement. They say most of the profits have gone to the studio and they can only give what they have. However, it was made clear that if the producers assign the rights to anybody else (in this case, to Fox), they too will be bound by this agreement. It’s a clear case of cheating,” he said.

The petition further claims that the producers weren’t completely honest with the family.

Saini adds that Neerja, the 2015 film, made over Rs 135 crore, but Kasbekar’s company said the studio would keep 80 percent of the profits. The family was given a small amount (nearly Rs 25 lakh), which they had refused to accept. It is reported that the family wanted to use the profits to set up a charitable trust to help women in need.

Kasbekar, one of the producers, called the Bhanots’ claims false. He had earlier released a statement saying that the family’s demands were a retrospective negotiation and not as per what was signed by them years ago.

Neerja had Sonam Kapoor in the lead role. The movie won a National Award earlier this year.

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