Ajay Devgn Films' official statement
The week gone by saw Ajay Devgn blaming YRF of forcing distributors and theatres to promote its films over the others. Devgn recently sent a legal notice to YRF accusing it of pressuring exhibitors to promote the SRK starrer Jab Tak Hai Jaan over his latest film Son of Sardar. Bollywood Hungama got its hands over the official statement from the lawyers of Ajay Devgn Films. Here's what it reads like:
The case of ADF is that a producers/distributor/exhibitor cannot be allowed to enter into a tie-in arrangement which adversely affects competition. YRF has entered into a tie-in arrangement with the exhibitors in a manner that it has made it compulsory for the exhibitors to exhibit the untitled movie of YRF on Diwali day and two weeks thereafter with all 4 shows. A tie in arrangement in the present circumstances of YRF of compulsory showing an unnamed movie on a date fixed in advance with the exhibitor while entering into an arrangement to show the film "Ek Tha Tiger" itself violates the provisions of the competition Act, 2002 more particularly Section 3. It is well known fact that YRF is the most dominant player in the film business for the past four-five decades.
YRF is vertically integrated i.e. it has a studio, production house, in house director, all the equipments required for the production and it has distribution arms all over the world which creates a dominant presence/impression before an exhibitor.
Under the threat of not delivering "Ek Tha Tiger" which was the only film to be released on Eid/Independence day (an unusual day being a Wednesday for a film release), YRF forced the exhibitors to tie in the release of the untitled movie (which is now titled as "Jab tak hai jaan") on the Diwali day i.e. 13.11.2012 which is also an unusual day for release i.e. Tuesday. ADF is entitled to release its movie on the Diwali day which right is protected under Article 19(1)(g), Indian Contract Act and Competition Act, 2002 and provide effective competition to YRF's movie.
But for YRFs tie-in arrangement with the exhibitors which is apparent from the various agreements executed by YRF, ADF would have achieved single screen exhibitors in the range of more than 1200. However, because of the tie-in arrangement, ADF has achieved only about 600 nos. of single screens which clearly shows the cause against YRF.
To substantiate the above through some examples, a catchment like Dadar in Mumbai has 7 single screen cinemas out of which 'Son of Sardaar' has only 1, and 'Jab tak hai Jaan' has 6. In Hyderabad city, out of 17 single screen (Hindi playing) cinemas, 'Son of Sardaar' has only 2, and 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan' has 15. The trend is similar almost all India which can be scrutinized by anyone.
For ADF's last movie i.e. "Bol Bachchan" ADF had achieved about 1350 number of single screens which film was released on 6th July, 2012. ADF could have also restricted the release of YRF's movie on Diwali day by entering into tie-in arrangements then but ADF has always been fair and in any case does not carry dominance which YRF has in the market to dictate anti-competitive terms.
YRF is trying to hide behind its dominant position in the film market. It is wrongly touting this cause of action to be based upon an alleged enmity between Mr. Ajay Devgn and Mr. Shah Rukh Khan, which does not exist. The case of ADF is legally maintainable and ADF shall fight till the end on this legal issue.