The ongoing dispute between filmmakers Sanjay Gupta and Vinod Bachchan relating to certain shelved film projects seems to be headed to an amicable resolution. Reportedly, the parties have executed a settlement deed and have submitted the same to the City Civil Court, Dindoshi where the proceedings were pending between them.
A brief background of the legal dispute between the parties is as follows:
According to sources, around April 2014, Vinod Bachchan through his production company Saundarya Productions Pvt. Ltd. had given a token amount of Rs. 49.5 Lakhs to Sanjay Gupta for a film that was to star Abhishek Bachchan, Sonu Sood and Boman Irani. However, even after Sanjay Gupta had finished the writing and development of the script; producers Vinod Bachchan and Shyam Purohit couldn’t arrange the finance for the film and/or lock the cast. Around December 2014, Vinod Bachchan informed Gupta that the film had been shelved and they agreed that Gupta would still retain the entire token amount towards the time invested by him for the development of the script.
However, around February 2015, Vinod Bachchan sent a legal notice to Gupta alleging that it had been decided between the parties that the token amount would be used for Jazbaa (starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Irrfan Khan) and accordingly, He is entitled to receive credits as a producer of the film. He added that the he had paid Gupta the token amount to make a film for his production house that never happened because Gupta allegedly broke the contract and started working on Jazbaa.
In addition to this, Bachchan also filed a complaint with the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) and Indian Film and Television Producers Council (IFTPC) seeking refund of the token amount. Accordingly, a ‘Non-Cooperative Directive’ was instituted against Sanjay Gupta by the JDSC (Joint Dispute Settlement Committee) of FWICE and IFTPC that hampered the progress of the film ‘Jazbaa’.
In response to this, Gupta filed a criminal complaint against Bachchan alleging extortion, defamation and cheating and also moved the High Court of Bombay challenging the non-cooperation directive issued against him.
Then, on June 25, 2015, the High Court of Bombay passed a ‘consent order’ wherein Gupta undertook to deposit Rs 20 Lakhs with the Court and accordingly, the Court stayed the ‘Non-Cooperative Directive’ issued by FWICE and IFTPC and directed them to communicate the stay order to their members and affiliates. The order expressly kept open all issues, rights and contentions of the parties on merits and entitled Bachchan to file a civil suit in respect of the claim before any competent civil court and directed that the amount of deposit shall stand transferred to the credit of such suit. The order dated June 25, 2015 can be accessed here.
Accordingly, in October 2015, a suit was filed by Vinod Bachchan and his production company Saundarya Productions Pvt. Ltd. in the City Civil Court at Dindoshi.
However, recent reports suggest that in view of the slow progress of the matter in the lower court, the parties have opted for an amicable out-of-court settlement to close the matter. The parties have signed ‘Mutual Terms of Consent’ and submitted the same to the court through their respective lawyers. Further, Sanjay Gupta submitted to the court that Bachchan could withdraw the deposit amount of Rs 20 Lakhs and has also released a pay order of Rs 3.5 Lakhs in Bachchan’s favor in accordance with the Mutual Terms of Consent.
The order has not been uploaded yet, however the case status (as reflected on the official website) states: Case Status: CASE DISPOSED; Nature of Disposal: Uncontested–CONSENT TERMS; Decision Date: 24th August 2018.
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