The Bombay High Court has ordered Panorama Studios to hand over 50 per cent share in the Intellectual Property rights to renowned writer-director Anees Bazmee till the time it pays Rs 1.08 crores dues that are yet to be paid for his contribution in the 2019 multi-star film Pagalpanti.
The HC also ordered the production house to deposit the amount in the court and stated that all the present and future revenues earned by it in any manner from exploiting the film on any of the available platforms, within a period of 60 days.
A bench of Justice K R Shriram noted that Bazmee was to be paid a total of Rs 8 crores by the makers of the film, within 90 days of the film's release. However, the makers paid him only Rs 7 crores.
The remaining Rs one crore was to be paid by Panorama Studios along with an amount of Rs 8 lakh.
According to the suit filed by Bazmee, the production house had given him a postdated cheque worth Rs 1.08 crores but the same got dishonored since the "account was blocked."
Appearing for the production house, its counsel informed that the account got blocked because Yes Bank, on whom the cheque was drawn was in a moratorium.
The bench, however, noted that except for the counsel's statement, there was nothing on record to indicate that.
"Therefore, admittedly the studio owes Rs 1.08 crores to Bazmee," Justice Shriram noted.
The bench noted that the production house had agreed to create a lien and charge on the 50 per cent share of the intellectual property rights of the film in Bazmee's favour. It further noted that the studio appeared before the court twice but did not file its affidavit yet.
"The only prima facie conclusion I can arrive at is the production house has no defence, otherwise would have filed an affidavit in the last two weeks," Justice Shriram said, further taking note of the contention of the studio that the film Pagalpanti did not work well in the box office and that the production house suffered a loss of about Rs 20 crores.
"Panorama Studio shall thus disclose on oath, all the modes and manner in which the various rights in the said film has been exploited till date such as theatrical rights, DTH, Home viewing rights, satellite rights, internet rights, rights arising under any other media DVDs, Blueray or any other formats in any manner whatsoever and all the revenues earned by it from exploiting the said film," Justice Shriram ordered.