Gaurang Doshi slapped with contempt notice for Aankhen 2

The notice has been issued by the Bombay high court in a case filed by Rajtaru Studios Ltd, which allegedly owns the rights to the sequel for Vipul Shah's thriller.

Shriram Iyengar

Even before the sequel to the Amitabh Bachchan-Akshay Kumar hit Aankhen (2002) goes on the production floor, it has been surrounded by controversy.

Producer Gaurang Doshi has reportedly received a contempt notice from the Bombay high court for launching and promoting Aankhen 2. The notice has been issued in a case filed by Rajtaru Studios Ltd. Bachchan, Anil Kapoor and director Anees Bazmee have also been served legal notices.

Rajtaru Studios had acquired the rights to the sequel of Aankhen. A few months earlier, Tarun Agarwal, producer, Rajtaru Studios, had objected to Doshi's plan for the sequel. Rajeev Rajtaru, owner of the studio, had moved court on 4 August 2016. Reports said Doshi's lawyer, Chirag Mody, insisted that his client had nothing to do with the film. The case was adjourned till 19 August, by which time Doshi announced the film and the star cast.

At the hearing on 19 August, the court noted this act and warned Doshi that no promotions, online or offline, or work on the film was to be continued. Doshi, again, ignored the order and launched posters of the film.

This earned the filmmaker the wrath of Justice SJ Kathawala of the Bombay high court, who observed that Doshi has "repeatedly made false statements before the court, misled the court, and interfered with the administration of justice. He should be held in contempt of court."

Another point of contention is that Doshi has constantly changed his legal counsel. Rajtaru alleges that this is a ploy to delay the legal process. In a report, Rajtaru was quoted as saying, "We're also moving court with the Copyright Infringement Act and awaiting a response from Anees Bazmee, Amitabh Bachchan and Anil Kapoor on the legal notices." 

The next hearing in the case is scheduled on 14 September. If the promotion and work on Aankhen 2 does not stop by then, Doshi might have to contend with an arrest warrant. 

This is not the only controversy the film has been mired in. Actress Ileana D'Cruz had objected to the filmmakers using her name during the promotion of the film. Doshi had apparently announced D'Cruz's name in the cast without her having signed up for it.

Aankhen stars Bachchan, Arshad Warsi and debutante actress Regina Cassandra from the southern film industry. It was set to release during Diwali 2017. But that is now contingent upon the current legal tangle being resolved.