‘Address your arguments before competition panel'

The dispute between the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) and the distributors of the multi-lingual film, Raavan and Raavanan, over the screening of the Hindi version starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, on Monday reached the Karnataka High Court.

Directed by Mani Ratnam, the film has the Bachchan couple playing the lead in the Hindi version and Vikram playing the lead in Tamil.

The film ran into trouble in Karnataka when the chamber asked the distributors not to exhibit it in more than 24 cinemas in the State.

Subsequently, the chamber banned both the Hindi and Tamil versions from being exhibited in the State.

Anil Ambani's Reliance Big Entertainment Limited (RBEL) petitioned the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

The commission had, in an interim order, stayed the chamber ban and permitted RBEL to exhibit the film in 36 cinemas. This order was to be in effect till June 22.

The chamber on Monday filed an appeal in the High Court against the commission's order. It said even though it had filed a caveat, the commission had only taken note of it before passing an order in favour of the distributors. It said the commission had not heard its arguments at all.

It said some months ago the distributors had entered into a contract with the chamber promising to abide by the latter's decision on imposing a ceiling on the number of cinemas in which the movie could be screened.

However, once the film was completed, the distributor chose to ignore the contract and released the movie in more cinemas than that had been agreed to. The chamber urged the court to intervene in the dispute and ensure that its order is adhered to.

Justice Anand Byrareddy asked the chamber to address its arguments before the commission. He said the commission would have to hear both the parties before passing any order. He said if the chamber is dissatisfied with the order, it could once again approach the High Court on June 24, 2010, and adjourned the case.

  • It is the multilingual Raavan and Raavanan
  • Dispute over number of cinemas for screening