The box office collision between Jab Tak Hai Jaan starring Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn's Son Of Sardaar on November 13 always going to be a clash of titans. In an unexpected twist, Ajay Devgn Films accused Yash Raj Films, producer of Jab Tak Hai Jaan, of using it's dominant position to edge Son Of Sardaar out of the competition. Ajay Devgn alleged that his film was not finding enough single screen theatres.
The Competition Commission of India rejected Ajay's petition filed against Yash Raj Films today. Ajay has now approached the Competition Apellate Tribunal.
Here's what happened, and who said what:
Ajay Devgn's production house claims Yash Raj Films 'armtwisted' distributors to keep Son Of Sardaar out of theaters. A legal notice sent by his production house to Yash Raj Films stated that a complaint had been filed with the Competition Commission of India. Ajay says he filed the complaint after sending messages to Yash Raj Films. "Through people messages were sent and things were spoken. Directly I haven't met them ...I don't share that rapport with them. And through exhibitors themselves we tried to manage things but when it did not happen..then," he told PTI.
Earlier, YRF in a statement had claimed to have booked less than 1,500 single screens out of the 10,500-plus single screens available on all-India basis. They also said, "When we approached the theatre owners earlier this year, they were more than happy to accommodate Jab Tak Hai Jaan, owing to their long relationship with the production house. No one was forced to include our film in their theatres." Yash Raj Films closed it's distribution deals before the release of it's previous film, Ek Tha Tiger starring Salman Khan. Some theatres who screened Ek Tha Tiger have apparently chosen not to show Jab Tak Hai Jaan at all.
Ajay says this is not true. "Out of the 10,000 screens if they have booked 1,500 and I have 8,000 screens then am I fool to spend money and lose my reputation and go to court. It does not make sense logically. Secondly going by the statistics then out of the 10,000-12,000 screens more than 5,000-6,000 are in South where only regional films release," he told PTI. "Then in the remaining 4,000-4,500 screens 1,500-2,000 are closed... Those which are operational are less. For example in Dadar there are about seven single screen theatres they have booked six, in Delhi there are 21 single screens we have three.. This is something that has never happened before. You can verify it," he added.
Ajay also told PTI that he had filed the notice much before the death of Yash Chopra on October 21. "I had filed the complaint much before the demise of Yash Chopra. When this happened I was like people are going to target me and nobody is going to understand my point of view. I was a villain on both sides. I couldn't withdraw it (notice) from the Competition Commission. It is not a normal court," Ajay said. "I respected Yashji as much anybody else does. We have grown up watching his films," he added.
Shah Rukh Khan, star of Jab Tak Hai Jaan which is the last film directed by Yash Chopra, says the controversy is a legal matter and has nothing to do with him. "I was reading about it today. There are enough screens. These are all legal matters and thankfully it's not my production company," Shah Rukh told reporters at a press meet on his 47th birthday in Mumbai. "I hope they resolve it and on this Friday both the films do well. I have nothing against anyone. I have no problem with anyone," he said.