Yash Raj Films production house is stunned by the allegations made by Ajay Devgn Films (ADF). Recently ADF sent YRF a legal notice alleging that YRF used their influence to manipulate the exhibitors and distributors to release ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ in more theatres than ‘Son of Sardaar’, both of which are releasing on November 13. ADF has filed a complaint with the Competition Commission of India.
“The case of ADF is that a producers/distributor/exhibitor cannot be allowed to enter into a tie-in arrangement which adversely affects competition. YRF has entered into a tie-in arrangement with the exhibitors in a manner that it has made it compulsory for the exhibitors to exhibit the untitled movie of YRF on Diwali day and two weeks thereafter with all four shows," said an official statement from the lawyers of ADF.
Rafiq Gangjee, vice president, marketing and communications, YRF, said that these allegations and legal notice have come as a shock to them and hold no shred of truth in them.
“For a company like ours, which has maintained the highest standards of work ethics and fair play, this has really come as a shock,” said Gangjee.
“We would like to clarify at the outset that we still haven't received any notice from the commission and will suitably represent our stance if and when called upon to do so. Worldwide, as well as in India, distributors often sign deals for their complete annual slate of films to simplify the process. We trust the Competition Commission will also see it as universally acceptable fair business practice," he added.
Gangjee said that the distributors were keen on screening ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ as it’s the last movie of Yash Chopra and brings the hit jodi of Yash Chopra and Shah Rukh Khan together again after 8 long years.
“All the exhibitors, when approached by us earlier this year for booking their theatres, were happy to play out Yashji's movie considering their long standing and emotional relationship and goodwill with YRF of over 40 years. A Yash Chopra, Shah Rukh Khan movie, coming after a gap of eight long years, did not need any coercion for contractual screening,” he said.
YRF also claimed that they have only booked less than 1,500 single screens out of the 10,500-plus single screens available on an all-India basis.
"If this was an issue, why wasn't it raised earlier? Why wait till now when both films are nearing release," he said.
Gangjee also said that the release date of ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ was announced way back in June 2011 itself unlike ‘Son of Sardaar’.
“Given that most big ticket films avoid simultaneous releases, it was odd that ‘Son Of Sardaar’ announced their release for the same day almost a year later on May 29, 2012. They were also able to lock their final distribution partner as late as Oct 4, 2012,” Gangjee concluded.
But ADF stands by its allegations and said that YRF was trying to hide something.
“It is wrongly touting this cause of action to be based upon an alleged enmity between Ajay Devgn and Shah Rukh Khan, which does not exist. The case of ADF is legally maintainable and ADF shall fight till the end on this legal issue," said the statement.