The last-minute stay order on Ghajini given yesterday drew criticism from the industry and raised consternation among angry fans, whose Christmas plans revolve around watching the Aamir Khan film.
The timing of the suit, filed by A Chandrashekharan, producer of the Tamil original, is remarkable. He contended that Madhur Verma, producer of the remake, “fabricated documents to claim ownership of the remake rights”.
“Everyone knew the film was in the making. Why didn’t they come forward earlier?” asked producer Vipul Shah, whose blockbuster Singh is Kinng also faced a hurdle, for different reasons, just days before its release.
In fact, last-minute obstacles have become the order of the day — Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Jodhaa Akbar suffered following various PILs; Rakesh Roshan’s Krazzy 4 was in trouble when composer Ram Sampath went to court for not getting “due credit” on the CD covers; and Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion hit a roadblock when the Delhi Commission for Women tried to stall its release. “Of course, these things are a huge hassle,” said Gowarikar, a master of understatement. Trade analyst Taran Adarsh was more scathing: “It’s a cheap money-making exercise.”
A source claimed that Chandrashekharan “signed a piece of blank paper for Rs 2.6 crore thinking he was selling the satellite rights to the film, and not the rights to a Hindi remake”. With media reports of Rs 120 crore riding on Ghajini, which is booked solid across India for the first five days of its release, the amount involved is mind-boggling. Before yesterday’s hearing, Chandrashekharan had a bank guarantee, an amount deposited with the court that he would get if the case was settled in his favour.
The case has made fans furious. Priya Verma, an LSR student who planned to celebrate Christmas with Ghajini, said, “It is absolutely nonsensical on the part of the Chandrashekharan chap.” Anuradha, a blogger, added, “This fellow has manipulated this whole thing, because he must have realised his original film did not make as much money as this one will. He must have thought, why not try to make something of it now?”