IFTDA Rules In Favour of The Producer In A Tussle Over Script Rights of the Akshay Khanna-starrer ‘Section 375’

The Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association (“IFTDA”) in a recent ruling passed an order in favour of the producers of the film ‘Section 375: Marzi Ya Jabardasti’ (“Film”) securing their ownership over all the rights arising in and out of the script of the Film (“script rights”).

Reportedly, the producers of the Film, the father-son duo Kumar Mangat Pathak and Abhishek Mangat Pathak of Panorama Studios entered into a legal tussle with director-script writer Manish Gupta over the script rights.

It is alleged by Manish Gupta that he still owns the script rights and he filed a complaint in the IFTDA to that effect. However, recently IFTDA ruled in the favour of the Producers Kumar Mangat and Abhishek. The Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association is a trade union established for the welfare of the directors in the entertainment industry. IFTDA has a dedicated wing “Dispute Settlement Committee” which undertakes to resolve the disputes of their members with the Producers.

“It has been proved beyond any doubt that the agreements of director/writer Manish Gupta with producer (Mangats’) Panorama Studios for film Section 375 and his complaint were contradictory and he simply wanted to harass the producer when he had been paid as per agreements and therefore committed a breach of terms of the agreement,” the ruling stated.

The Producers informed the press that Manish Gupta had entered into an agreement with them which stated that the producers are the owners of the script rights. They further stated that Manish did not honour the terms of the agreement, started misbehaving with the team and eventually approached IFTDA that ruled in their favour.

Meanwhile, Manish Gupta continues to maintain that he is the owner of the script rights and is planning to fight the matter further. He was quoted to say, “I own the copyright to ‘Section 375’ as per the certificate issued to me by the Copyright Office, Delhi. I have returned the signing amount of Rs 3,38,000 to Kumar Mangat. I have informed IFTDA that I am taking the matter to the High Court now and as part of the process I have already sent him two legal notices terminating the writer agreement. To avoid loss of face and to misguide investors they are trying to create an impression that I am no longer part of the project.”

This is not the first time that the Film is facing legal hitches. It was earlier reported that the producers of the Film had ousted actor Akshaye Khanna for causing delays to the project. Apparently, the makers were contemplating a legal recourse against the actor on grounds of breach of contract. The allegations against the actor included his demand for twice the fee signed in the contract and that he allotted the dates of ‘Section 375 – Marzi Ya Jabardasti’ to another film ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’. However, a spokesperson refuted these rumours and confirmed that Akshaye Khanna is still a part of the Film.

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