Eros International had issued a public notice that says Nadiadwala’s company Base Industries Group owed them Rs30 crore as unrecouped advance.
Eros International in legal dispute with Firoz Nadiadwala's company over Welcome Back
Mumbai - 27 Jun 2018 16:54 IST
Updated : 17:25 IST
Producer Firoz Nadiadwala couldn’t reap the same success with Welcome Back (2015) as he did with Welcome (2007). Three years on, the senior producer is locked in a legal dispute over finances with distributor Eros International.
On 16 June, Eros International had issued a public notice claiming that, except for the music and audio/visual, it owns all rights to the film Welcome Back for 10 years. The notice also said that Nadiadwala’s company Base Industries Group owed them Rs30 crore as unrecouped advance. Eros International claimed rights over Nadiadwala’s subsequent films Awara Paagal Deewana 2 and Hera Pheri 3 (2019).
Nadiadwala, through his legal team, issued a counter public notice accusing Eros International of cheating, misappropriation of funds and not disclosing the correct figures pertaining to the box office revenue of Welcome Back (2015).
In its notice, Base Industries Group pointed out that the matter was sub judice and that Eros International's claim over the rights was to be adjudicated by a sole arbitrator appointed by the Bombay high court.
In the notice issued by Nadiadwala's company Base Industries Group, advocate Pravin Desai accused Eros International of criminal offences, including cheating and misappropriation of funds. Desai has even accused Eros of not disclosing the exact amount of the film's overseas box office collection.
“Eros is claiming some amount from Base [Industries Group]. My client’s stand is that Eros didn’t not provide them a due and proper business account. If that is given then, on the contrary, Base will have to get some money from Eros. They are claiming that they could not recoup the amount. Rights were assigned for Rs90 crore and they are claiming that they could only recoup Rs60 crore, and hence we should return them Rs30 crore,” Base Industries Group advocate Pravin Desai told Cinestaan.com.
As per Boxofficeindia.com, Welcome Back (2015) was made at an estimated budget of Rs108 crore and it was released in 3,200 screens. The domestic collection was Rs95.92 crore nett, while the overseas collection was pegged at $5.5 million.
Base Industries Group, though, alleged that Eros International has hidden the business of the film and deprived the country of foreign exchange.
“It is the contention of my client that Eros has deliberately and wilfully cheated the government of India by depriving valuable foreign exchange which would have come into the country, by acquiring the overseas rights in the name of their Indian company and thereafter, with the knowledge that my client was 50% partners of the revenue generated overseas, have hidden the business which may be of over Rs100 crore as the film was a hit and continues to be a rage on the internet and as a result of their hiding the business, not only has my client lost money, but also the country has lost valuable foreign exchange, which would have come into the country as my client and Eros was to share the profit generated abroad, which has been diverted by Eros in their foreign companies thereby depriving the government of various taxes like GST an income tax [sic]," Desai mentioned in the public notice issued by Base Group Industries.
Eros International has now issued a statement dismissing the allegations.
“The allegations in the public notice issued by Mr Pravin Desai, advocate on behalf of Base Industries Group are false, and incorrect. The threats and intimidation therein against Eros [International] in the said notice are nothing but an ingenious device ploy and stratagem of a chronic defaulter/debtor to coerce, pressurize and intimidate Eros to withdraw its legitimate claim for recovery of Rs30 crore against Mr Firoz A Nadiadwala as stated hereunder in respect of the film Welcome Back [sic],” Eros International legal head RM Azim said in the statement.
The statement by Eros International further claimed that all relevant records pertaining to the business of the film were submitted to Nadiadwala.
“All relevant accounts for the exploitation of the rights of the film Welcome Back in a transparent manner was submitted to Mr Firoz A Nadiadwala who never objected to the same. Insofar as the threats and intimidation of Mr Firoz A Nadiadwala is concerned, Eros may if so advised file appropriate legal proceedings to counter the same,” claimed Eros International.
The production and distribution giant also cited figures from Boxofficeindia.com that overseas collection was $5.5 million.
“Even according to the authentic trade website [Box Office India] reporting both India and overseas Bollywood films business, Welcome Back is at No 71 showing a gross of US $5.50 million. The allegations of Rs100 crore alleged by Mr Firoz A Nadiadwala are thus utterly false [sic],” Eros International said in the statement.
Desai maintained that Eros International has not submitted the records and refused to comment more as the matter is sub judice.
Both Welcome (2007) and Welcome Back (2015) were directed by Anees Bazmee. Akshay Kumar had featured in the first film, while John Abraham played the lead in the sequel. Nadiawala had struggled to get Hera Pheri 3 gonig with the producer initially struggling to land the desired cast. John Abraham, Abhishek Bachchan had walked out of the project and it was initially to be directed by Neeraj Vora, who passed away last year. Hera Pheri 3 will now be directed by Indra Kumar. Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty and Paresh Rawal will return to the franchise.