Neerja Bhanot’s family accuses producers of cheating; moves to court

Mumbai: The film based on the life of brave heart Neerja Bhanot, ‘Neerja’, played by Sonam Kapoor, not only succeeded in getting critical acclaims but also got acknowledged and honoured with many prestigious awards, including Sonam Kapoor bagging the Best Actress Award at the 64th National Film Awards.

Later, a year after its release, the Bhanot family accused the makers of the film for not sticking to their commitment to sharing 10% of its Box office collections with the Neerja Bhanot trust and her family and were miffed.

But now, according to a leading tabloid, on Friday, the Bhanots moved to Chandigarh High Court accusing them of criminal conspiracy.

Bhanots’ legal counsel, Hemant Saini, told the leading tabloid, “The parties entered into an agreement which promised the family 10 per cent profits, over and above the initial stipulated amount. Now, the producers are indicating that the contract referred to the percentage made by Bling alone, and not by both the producers. They claim that the amount the family is demanding belongs to Fox, which, they say, is not a party to the agreement. They say most of the profits have gone to the studio and they can only give what they have. However, it was made clear that if the producers assign the rights to anybody else (in this case, to Fox), they too will be bound by this agreement. It’s a clear case of cheating…

The petition also claims that the producers have conducted a planned conspiracy and dishonestly induced the family members of late Rama Bhanot (Neerja’s mother) with the intention of wrongful gains to themselves.

Adding further Hemant Saini said, “The movie made over Rs 135 crore, but Kasbekar’s company said the studio would keep 80 percent of the profits. The family was given a small amount (nearly Rs 25 lakh), which they refused to accept. They wanted to use the profits to set up a charitable trust to help women in need.”

However, co-producer of the film, Atul Kasbekar (Bling Unplugged) had issued a statement claiming that all the accusations made by the Bhanot family were false.

Chandigarh High Court has scheduled the next hearing session for Friday, June 30.

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