Earlier this week, we told you about how the Bhanot family wants to sue the filmmakers of Neerja for not holding up their promise of sharing 10 percent of the film’s profit with them and the Neerja Bhanot Trust.
Now, the film’s producer Atul Kasbekar, who is the chief managing director of Bling Entertainment, claimed the all financial transactions after the film’s release have been cleared and shared as per the contract with the Bhanot family “immediately and in a transparent manner.”
He took to Facebook to share that as per their agreement, the Bhanot family was offered a part of the profit but they declined to take it.
“At the outset, again, we’d like to say that we are immensely grateful that the Bhanot family trusted us with making a movie on the life of braveheart, Neerja Bhanot.
We started the exercise of making a difficult film with utmost honesty and the effusive acclaim the film has received is testament to the fact that we succeeded in our endeavour.
The facts of the case are simply thus:
Bling had acquired the rights to make ‘Neerja’ from the Bhanot family. The agreement between Bhanots and Bling clearly spelt out that Bhanots would be paid a fixed upfront amount (which was paid as per the timelines) and a variable amount, which was to be computed as a share of net profits that Bling would receive.
It was always abundantly clear that we would partner with a studio, in this case FoxStar India.
The Bhanot family was always aware of the same and have in fact met the studio reps on many occasions.
To imply otherwise is simply untrue.
Integrity is a very important aspect of Bling’s values and Bling is committed to meeting all its contractual commitments.
All financial transactions post release have been shared with the Bhanot family immediately and in a transparent manner.
Their share of the profits, which is a share of ours, has been immediately offered.
They have declined to accept the same and now wish to get a share of the studio profits.
This is effectively a retrospective negotiation and not as per what is signed by them years ago.
It is unfortunate that despite having a clear contractual arrangement the Bhanots have decided to dispute the financial understanding at this belated stage.
To reiterate, the amounts due to the Bhanots, as per the existing contract have been repeatedly offered by us to them.
To imply anything otherwise, is simply untrue.
Neerja, which was based on the life of slain Neerja Bhanot, who gave up her life while fighting the hijackers on Pan-Am flight at Karachi international airport in Pakistan on September 5, 1986, had grossed an estimated Rs 125 crore worldwide apart from bagging the National Award for Best Hindi Feature Film this year.
The Bhanot family had threatened to drag the producers to the court, without revealing many details about the legal case. “I will not comment on this issue at this stage. All I can tell you is that we will not tolerate injustice,” Aneesh Bhanot, brother of Neerja Bhanot had said.