It's going to be a firecracker of a Diwali. With SRK and Ajay Devgn all set to clash with each other at the box office, the latter recently sent a 'legal notice' apparently accusing the makers of Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Yash Raj Films of manipulating the distributors to allocate higher number of screens for their film. YRF however claims that the 'legal notice' was not issued by any court, and simply was a letter of intimation from the lawyers. The war of words appears to be far from over.
Ajay Devgn's letter to Yash Raj Films states that a formal complaint has been lodged with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against YRF. However, an official spokesperson of the studio states, "We have only received a letter from Ajay Devgn's lawyer. It is not a notice!"
In their defence, the representatives of YRF also claim, "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." Incidentally, some of the exhibitors who screened Ek Tha Tiger have apparently chosen not to show Jab Tak Hai Jaan at all.
In their statement to the media, the studio also states that whole Jab Tak Hai Jaan had announced its release date way back on June 27 last year, the makers of Son Of Sardaar only announced its release date on May 29 this year. The official statement adds, "It would seem odd if the makers of SOS expect YRF to wait for them to make their plans and then approach the exhibitors." Well, all we can say is that may the best man win!
Ajay Devgn is clearly upset. While Devgn claims that he has filed a case against YRF, and the late Yash Chopra's studio claiming that they are yet to receive the notice, the battle lines are clearly drawn. With hardly 10 days to go before both the films clash at the box office, it is just the beginning of a series of serves and volleys.
While Yash Raj Films has been stating that there are 10,500 single screens in the country and they have only booked 1,500, the official spokesperson of Ajay Devgn Films says, "It is strange and surprising that someone as reputed as YRF come up with these fictional numbers. Especially, when more than 50 per cent of these theatres are in centres that screen only regional cinema.
If that was the case they never would have made a joint agreement of Ek Tha Tiger in the first place as no one has ever heard of over 3,000 screens booked for any film in the country. It is a clear indication that exhibitors are arm twisted in booking Jab Tak Hai Jaan with Ek Tha Tiger."
The makers of Jab Tak Hai Jaan claim
>> Yash Raj Films says they have not received any notice from the court but just a letter from the lawyers representing Ajay Devgn.
>> While Ek Tha Tiger released in 1,700 screens, Jab Tak Hai Jaan will release only across 1,500 screens.
>> It's a common practice in India and abroad to sign a bulk distribution deal for a complete bouquet of films from a production house for a particular year. While on an average Eros (distributor) and Viacom (producer) makes and releases 27 films per year, we are only releasing four films a year.
Makers of the Son of Sardaar claim
>> They have indeed filed a case against Yash Raj Films for armtwisting the exhibitors into booking theatres for Jab Tak Hai Jaan in return of their Eid release Ek Tha Tiger.
>> The difference between the allocation of the films at the single screentheatres in all the centres is as big as 80 per cent to 90 per cent for Jab Tak Hai Jaan and 10 to 20 per cent only for Son of Sardaar.
>> The claim to 10,000 single screens in India is false and baseless and the whole fight is not about multiplexes but single screens.