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Bombay HC To Hear Petitions by Sanjay Leela Bhansali Seeking Injunction Against Eros Media

Bombay HC To Hear Petitions by Sanjay Leela Bhansali Seeking Injunction Against Eros Media
On Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, Bombay High Court said both petitions filed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali Productions seeking directions to restrain Eros International Media from selling or exploiting the rights of two films, Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram Leela and Bajirao Mastani, will now be heard jointly on 30th June 2020.

Justice BP Colabawalla by video conferencing heard petitions filed pursuant to Section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 seeking immediate ad-interim reliefs banning Eros International Media, the parent company Eros International PLC and STX Film from the sale, use, transfer, licensing, distribution or renewal of Bajirao Mastani rights. Mr. Bhansali has directed and co-produced both the movies.

Senior Advocate ZalAdhyarujina appeared on behalf of the petitioner Bhansali Productions and submitted that on 18th April 2020, his clients found an Intimation filed with the Bombay Stock Exchange by Eros International Media Limited claiming that their ultimate parent firm, Eros International Plc and STX Filmworks, Inc. had entered into a definitive stock-for-stock merger agreement, according to which STX Entertainment will merge with a newly formed Eros International Plc subsidiary and survive such a merger as Eros International Plc 's indirect wholly-owned subsidiary.

The merger is entered on the misleading and incorrect disclosure that Eros International PLC has some rights to the film 'Bajirao Mastani.' In reality, neither Eros International PLC nor STX Filmworks, INC are parties to Bhansali Productions' co-production agreement with Eros International Media Limited, they cannot claim any rights in the film, Adhyarujina said.

Advocate Akshay Patil appeared in Eros International Media on behalf of the respondent. 

Last month, after Bhansali moved to court to seek the same interim relief restricting Eros International Media, the parent company Eros International PLC and STX Film from selling, exploiting, assigning, licensing, distributing, or renewing the film's "Goliyo Ki Raas Leela Ram Leela" rights. 

After hearing submissions of both parties, the Court had observed-

"Prima facie I find that an amount of Rs.19,39,241/- is payable by respondent No.1 to the petitioner. At this stage, I do not find that this money should be withheld by respondent No.1."

Justice Colabawalla had given the respondents three weeks of time to pay that amount. 

On Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, the Court adjourned the matter after hearing both parties' submissions and the next hearing date is 30th June 2020.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali's love story 'Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ram-Leela', which was released earlier, had faced protests in Indore, Rajkot, Jalandhar and the capital regarding its title and content. 

Some members of an NGO held a protest in the capital outside a theatre over the Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh starrer film, demanding a change in its title. People raised slogans against the movie and the protests ended when police arrived on the scene and whisked away the demonstrators to the nearest police station.

Despite the film's title being changed, first from 'Ramleela' to 'Ram-Leela', and then to 'Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ram-Leela', there is still controversy.

Mr.Bhansali later agreed to the demands of the community of Kshatriya in Rajkot by changing certain "provocative" words in his film. The words 'Jadeja' and 'Rabari' were changed to 'Sanedo' and 'Rajouri' according to demand from the community. 


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