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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Lab refuses to hand over prints of 1992 movie over Rs 79 lakh dues

The Bombay high court (HC) on Friday was hearing a petition filed by Sami, seeking that the prints of the film be handed over to him.

mumbai Updated: Apr 11, 2019 06:15 IST
K A Y Dodhiya
K A Y Dodhiya
Mumbai
Lab refuses to hand over prints of 1992 movie over Rs 79 lakh dues
Lab refuses to hand over prints of 1992 movie over Rs 79 lakh dues(Getty Images/Creatas RF)
         

The release of the 1992 film Nargis – starring Hema Malini, Naseeruddin Shah and Zeba Bakhtiar – has suffered another setback. Even after the producer Khalid Mohammad Sami deposited the Rs 23 lakh due to the studio with the court in 2016, a processing laboratory has claimed a lien of Rs 79 lakh on the negative and digital prints of the film.

The Bombay high court (HC) on Friday was hearing a petition filed by Sami, seeking that the prints of the film be handed over to him. The laboratory, Prime Focus, which is now in possession of the prints, told the court the prints could not be handed to Sami till its dues were cleared.

The bench of justice Gautam Patel noted that Sami’s plea seeking possession of the prints was justified as he had paid its dues to Marudhar Studios in 2016, as per an October 2015 HC order. However, Prime Focus, made the claim for lien under section 170 of the Contract Act. As the section does not specify a limitation period, Prime Focus can hold on to the prints till perpetuity or till their dues are cleared, the laboratory has claimed.

Patel said that while passing the 2015 order, he had allowed the laboratory to file a written statement, counter claim or suit for recovery. However, the laboratory had not taken any action and so, the court could not decide on the claim. HC has now appointed two amicus curiae, Manjiri Shah and Sharan Jagtiani, to assist it in deciding the laboratory’s claim. The next hearing has been scheduled for April 22.

The film revolves around a village girl, played by Bakhtiar, who becomes disabled after a terrorist attack. Hema Malini and Naseeruddin Shah play the role of a couple who exploit the girl and her disability.

While a theatrical release may no longer be possible, Sami is hoping for a digital release as a tribute to the late singer Jagjit Singh, late music director Basudeb Chakrabarty and late lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri, who contributed to the film.