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Vashu Bhagnani drags T-Series, Prernaa Arora to court over Fanney Khan, Batti Gul... distribution rights

Bhagnani took legal course after T-Series claimed that Pooja Entertainment had no rights over Fanney Khan and Batti Gul Meter Chalu.

Mayur Lookhar

There seems to be no end to the legal tangles surrounding Fanney Khan (2018) and Batti Gul Meter Chalu (2018). First, producer T-Series was locked in a legal battle with co-producer KriArj Entertainment over the two films. Batti Gul Meter Chalu also had Easy Trip Planners as investors.

Now T-Series has patched up with KriArj Entertainment and Easy Trip Planners, but the film production giant is being dragged to court by veteran producer Vashu Bhagnani of Pooja Entertainment.

It may be recalled that in October 2017, Pooja Entertainment had entered into a multi-film distribution deal with KriArj Entertainment. Pooja Entertainment holds the distribution rights to KriArj Entertainment titles.

Pooja Entertaiment has now sent a legal notice to T-Series, Prernaa Arora of KriArj Entertainment and Fanney Khan co-producer Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra claiming that his company owns the distribution rights to Fanney Khan and Batti Gul Meter Chalu.

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“I have sent legal notices to Bhushan [Kumar], Prernaa [Arora] and Rakeysh [Omprakash Mehra] on Monday, claiming the rights to these films. For Fanney Khan, I have the all-India distribution rights and I'm entitled to producer’s credit, while in Batti Gul Meter Chalu, I have the producer title and a commitment of the all-India distribution of the film. I have documents supporting my claims, except for the distribution agreement of Batti Gul Meter Chalu which Prernaa had promised me would be made once the film goes on the floors, but that didn’t happen,” Bhagnani told the Mumbai Mirror tabloid newspaper.

Bhagnani’s legal team sent us a copy of the public notice Pooja Entertainment sent to the parties concerned over the dispute involving Fanney Khan and Batti Gul Meter Chalu.

Page 1 of the notice issued by Pooja Entertainment 
Page 2 of the notice issued by Pooja Entertainment 

The poster of Fanney Khan was released on Sunday. While it did not list KriArj Entertainment in the credits, the poster carried the names of Prernaa Arora’s parents. Virrendra Arora is mentioned in the ‘presents’ credit while Prernaa’s mother Kussum Arora has a ‘produced by’ mention.

The poster also included the name of Nishant Pitti of Easy Trip Planners. As reported earlier, Pitti was brought on board by KriArj Entertainment as an investor. Easy Trip Planners has invested Rs14 crore in Fanney Khan (2018).

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This suggested that T-Series seemed to have found a solution with Prernaa and Nishant Pitti.

When contacted, Prernaa Arora said, "T-Series and I got into a four-film deal. Bhushan Kumarji [T-Series head honcho] and I have been good friends. We always have ups and downs, disagreements over various things. With him a lot of things were done on trust. I remember during Kedarnath (2018), Bhushanji sat all of us down and finished the matter in a very respectful way."

She added: "Similarly, there were some differences in these two films. There were some changes which happened and it was not acceptable. But when both of us moved court, his [Bhushan Kumar's] approach was to peacefully sort out the matter. We just met, sat down over dinner, and sorted out our differences. We have two more films to do.

"With regards to Batti Gul Meter Chalu and Fanney Khan, my father met him, and there was a new construction which was based on these films.”

While not entirely clear, Prernaa Arora's last statement suggests that the entity KriArj Entertainment is no longer associated with the two films — Batti Gul Meter Chalu and Fanney Khan. She, however, refused to comment on the legal issues raised by Pooja Entertainment.

Earlier, T-Series had issued a statement that Pooja Entertainment had no rights over the two films.

“The number of people claiming parallel rights in these films is quite astonishing," Ankit Relan, member of the T-series legal team, said in a statement. "We had filed a suit last month before the Delhi high court against KriArj, Gothic Entertainment, Ease My Trip and other such entities where, after considering all the materials on record, the court had issued an order in T-Series's favour observing that KriArj did not have the right to grant any third party rights or create any lien over the film without taking the written consent of T-Series who was jointly producing the film Barti Gul Meter Chalu with KriArj.

"T-series had never given any written consent to any such agreements or the grant of liens by KriArj and accordingly its rights were upheld by the court, which restrained all these parties from interfering in the exploitation of rights, including distribution rights therein, by T-Series and held that only T-Series had the right to do so as per its co-production agreement with KriArj.

"This agreement, I want to clarify, was executed much prior to the agreement under which Pooja Entertainment and Vashuji are claiming rights. Given the protection already offered by the court against other similarly placed claimants, I don't see how Vashuji's claims will hold up in court.”