Film Neerja won critical as well as commercial acclaim. It even made actress Sonam Kapoor and director Ram Madhvani the recipient of National Award. But, off lately the makers of Neerja have got into a controversy. Reportedly, Bhanot family has accused them for not living up to their commitment of sharing film’s 10 percent of the box-office collection with Neerja Bhanot trust and family.
This accusation has made Neerja’s producer Atul Kasbekar to present his version of the truth on his Facebook page. He wrote, “Statement from Bling Unplugged, co-producers of the motion picture: 'Neerja'
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 is a biopic of brave hearted Neerja Bhanot, who gave up her life in a terrorist attack to save the passengers on Pan Am flight. The film released in 2016, was jointly produced by Fox Star Studios and Atul Kasbekar’s Bling Unplugged.
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