A few weeks back, Kangana Ranaut had sent the makers of her upcoming film, I Love NY (produced by Bhushan Kumar), a legal notice, asking them not to release the movie. Her lawyer claimed that the makers of the film were piggybacking on the success of her latest release, Tanu Weds Manu Returns, which did well at the box office. The lawyer also questioned why the actor’s permission was not sought while deciding the release date of the film. While this is not the first time that a film is releasing after being left in the cans for many years, it raises a bigger question — can actors block the release of a film if they are not happy with it?
“When we do a film, we do it as actors. Once it is complete, it goes into the hands of the producers, and it becomes their prerogative as to when and how they want to release it,” says Sunny Deol, who is also part of the film in question.
Putting things in perspective, producer Mukesh Bhatt says that if someone has an issue with a film, and doesn’t want to release it, then that person should buy the film. “Some projects don’t turn out well, but you cannot abandon them midway. People invest in the project for a reason,” he says.
Film-maker Kunal Kohli echoes a similar stance, saying, “These days, a lot of actors are co-producers of the films they act in, but if you are not connected with the financial aspect of the movie in that sense, then I don’t think an actor has the right to stall a film. A producer’s money is stuck in a film, and he has to recover that. He has the right to release the film whenever he wants to.”
Film-maker Anubhav Sinha feels that unless an actor has a contract with the production house suggesting that a film cannot be released without his or her permission, actors can’t claim any right on release dates. “If the actor is not the producer, and doesn’t even have a special clause in his or her contract, then he or she can’t have a say in such matters. For the makers, they are just paid service providers,” says Anubhav.
Read: Praise Kangana but don't ignore others