NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the decks for the release of Amitabh Bachchan starrer, “Jhund” on OTT platform, staying an order of the Telangana high court to put its release on OTT on hold on the request of a petition by Hyderabad-based filmmaker Nandi Chinni Kumar who alleged copyright violation.
A bench of justices Indira Banerjee and AS Bopanna said, “It prima facie, appears to this court that the order of status quo passed by the high court is clearly against the balance of convenience….The impugned order of the high court shall remain stayed in the meanwhile.”
The top court’s order was passed on an appeal filed by the film’s producer Super Cassettes Industries Private Limited against the April 29 order of the Telangana high court.
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The movie “Jhund”, which has Amitabh Bachchan in the lead role, revolves around the story of a football coach Vijay Barse. It was released in cinema halls across India and abroad on March 4 this year. The producers intended to launch the movie on OTT platforms on May 6.
Filmmaker Nandi Chinni Kumar, however, claimed to be the assignee of the rights of the life story of Akhilesh Paul who is also featured in the film. He issued legal notices to the producer and others associated with the production of the movie for damages and initiated legal proceedings.
In October 2020, a settlement was arrived at between the parties by which an amount of ₹5 crore was to be paid to Kumar. However, on February 28 this year, he filed an application for recall of the compromise decree stating that he was defrauded by the producers of the film. His application for recall of the compromise decree was dismissed by a district court and subsequently by the Telangana high court on March 4. After the movie’s release, Kumar filed a revision petition in the high court to recall the March 4 order. It was on this petition that the high court ordered status quo, effectively halting the release of the movie on OTT.
The SC bench said: “There is a compromise decree which is still subsisting. As observed above, the film has been released in cinema halls way back in early March 2022 and is scheduled for OTT/Satellite release tomorrow. The high court has apparently not considered the principles with regard to grant of interim relief and, in any case, the claim, if any, of the respondents 1 (Nandi Chinni Kumar)is a money claim.”
The court allowed Kumar’s lawyer to produce all relevant documents in support of his claim and directed the matter to be listed on May 12 for further hearing.