Chennai

HC clears decks for release of Rajinikanth-starrer 'Darbar'

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Shows in Malaysia subject to bank guarantee of ₹4.9 crore

The Madras High Court on Tuesday cleared the decks for the worldwide release of Rajinikanth-starrer Darbar, reportedly made at a cost of ₹220 crore, on Thursday. It ordered that the movie should not be released in Malaysia alone if Lyca Productions fails to furnish a bank guarantee for ₹4.9 crore until the disposal of a civil suit filed by a Malaysian film distributor.

Justice G. Jayachandran passed the interim order on an application preferred by DMY Creation SDN BHD of Malaysia seeking to restrain the worldwide release of Darbar until Lyca Productions settles its dues to the tune of ₹23.70 crore. The applicant also insisted on attaching the positive, negative and digital storage of Darbar until the disposal of the civil suit.

According to the applicant company, it had entered into an agreement with Lyca Productions on December 11, 2017, for the exhibition and distribution of rights of Robot 2.0 across Malaysia and paid ₹20 crore to the production firm for the outright purchase of the rights for a period of 10 years. However, the release of the movie got delayed beyond a reasonable time.

On coming to know that the delay in release was because of financial constraints, DMY Creation supposedly offered a loan of ₹12 crore to Lyca Productions. It was also reportedly agreed that the total amount of ₹32 crore would carry an interest of 30% per annum and that the production house should offer the distribution rights of its future projects too to the applicant company.

In June 6, 2018, Lyca released Rajinikanth starrer Kaala and gave the distribution rights to DMY Creation on profit sharing basis. Since that movie collected only ₹4.38 crore in Malaysia, the applicant paid ₹2.7 crore to Lyca. Similarly, out of ₹2.69 crore collected by Chekka Sivandha Vaanam, the applicant paid ₹1.5 crore to Lyca.

A similar formula was adopted for various other movies including Vada Chennai, Maari 2 and Vandha Rajavaathan Varuven. In the meantime, Robot 2.0 also got released on November 9, 2018. Suddenly, when Darbar was about to be released, Lyca refused to give its distribution rights to DMY Creation and hence the present civil suit.

Allegations denied

Lyca Productions, in its counter denied all allegations, and stated that it was a financially sound company which had no necessity to borrow money. It claimed that the applicant company had purchased the outright distribution rights of Robot 2.0 for ₹20 crore and that of Kaala on payment of ₹12 crore which was now being projected as a loan.

Lyca also claimed that it was actually DMY which was yet to settle ₹1.59 crore for having distributed various movies. In support of its contention, Lyca relied upon an agreement and an e-mail sent to DMY regarding the distribution rights of Kaala but on perusing those two documents, the judge found that they did not contain any signatures.

Stating that the dispute was primarily as to whether the ₹12 crore offered by DMY Creations was a loan or a consideration for distribution rights of Kaala, the judge said, all contentious issues could be decided only during the final hearing of the civil suit.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 1:47:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/hc-clears-decks-for-release-of-rajinikanth-starrer-darbar/article30507424.ece

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