Neerja co-producers Fox Star Studios have denied having any contractual obligations to the Bhanot family. The Bhanot family had earlier claimed that they were promised a 10% share from the movie’s revenues.
According to an Indian Express report, the studio said that the issue was between the family and the other producer of the movie, Atul Kasbekar. His company Blingg Unplugged and Fox Star Studios had co-produced the film, starring Sonam Kapoor. Neerja went on to win awards at various platforms including the National Film Awards.
The family has accused the producers of “criminal conspiracy” in their petition, which reads, “The entire episode has trappings of a criminal conspiracy between respondent (Bling Unplugged) and Fox Star Studios India Pvt Ltd, who right from the inception of the agreement (between the family and the producers), in a planned manner had dishonestly induced the petitioners and family members of late Rama Bhanot with the intention of wrongful gains to themselves.”
The petition was filed at the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Fox Star Studios said that they had acquired the project from Atul Kasbekar long after his company had acquired the movie rights from the family.
“Fox Star Studios is extremely proud of its film Neerja and holds the Bhanot family in great esteem. However, the facts are that the Studios does not have any contractual obligations towards the Bhanot family as the life rights and permissions were obtained by Blingg Unplugged from the Late Neerja Bhanot’s family long before Fox Star Studios came onboard to produce the film. Fox Star Studios has been duly honouring its contractual obligations towards Blingg Unplugged,” read the statement.
Further, “The life story of Neerja Bhanot inspired the nation and the movie created history, created memories that we deeply cherish, memories that will last forever. We hope for quick resolution to the ongoing issue.”
The case will go be heard by the court in July.
The biopic was based on the late Neerja Bhanot’s life. Neerja was killed in 1986 while trying to save the passengers on the Pan Am Flight 73 which was hijacked by terrorists in Lahore, Pakistan. She was posthumously awarded the Ashok Chakra.
Pic: India Today