It seems to be a war to the finish between John Abraham and KriArj Entertainment, the production company that the actor is in tussle with. Last Thursday evening, John released a teaser trailer of the disputed film Parmanu: The Story Of Pokhran. The trailer soon disappeared from John Abraham’s twitter account with an announcement saying “The video has been removed in response to a report from the copyright holder.” The teaser which has a voice-over by Boman Irani and montage shots of great historical events such as Kapil Dev’s winning the World Cup in 1983, makes no mention of KriArj Entertainment, the co-producers of Parmanu.
Acting swiftly, KriArj’s legal team informed every major digital platform of the copyright infringement, thereby ensuring that the teaser was stopped from broadcast. KriArj’s legal team is now petitioning for the seizure of all promotional videos and related footage of the film until the dispute is solved.
Meanwhile, John isn’t taking things lying down either. An Indian Express Report said that the actor has filed three criminal complaints against Prernaa Arora. In a recent official statement, John’s JA Entertainment stated, “John Abraham, Director of M/s JA Entertainment has filed three criminal complaints against Prernaa Arora and her company, KriArj Entertainment for cheating, breach of trust, defamation and offences committed under the Information Technology Act.”
The statement further read, “John Abraham, through his production house JA Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. had signed a Co-production agreement with Prernaa Arora’s company Kriarj Entertaiment Pvt. Ltd. wherein Kriarj had agreed to pay Rs 35 crores to John’s company to cover the cost of production, fees of all actors and other production related expenses and had also agreed to additionally bear the Print and Advertisement expenses (P&A) for the film Parmanu - The Story of Pokhran against which John had agreed to assign the exploitation rights and 50% IPR of the film to Prernaa’s company. ”
JA Entertainment also added, “However, after Prernaa’s repeated delays in making payments by stopping cheque payments and giving wrong bank transfer details (UTR numbers) at every stage and refusal to pay the last tranches of payment, which were critical for completing the post-production work of the film, John followed the due process as laid down by law. He first gave a legal notice to cure the breach and after Prernaa’s failure to cure the breaches, John terminated the agreement with Prernaa in order to save his film.”
JA Entertainment in their statement also claimed that Prernaa Arora had illegally blocked the online publicity material of the film launched by John and that Prernaa has already recovered monies in excess of what she had to pay him from various third parties and yet did not pay him his dues. Aggrieved by this, John has opted for a legal support. John’s company also rubbished reports of Prernaa filing FIR against him. In a statement, it said, “This is with reference to the media reports stating that an FIR (First Information Report) has been registered at the Khar Police Station against Mr John Abraham and his production house, JA Entertainment. We would like to categorically state that this statement is factually incorrect and misleading.”
On the other hand, KriArj Entertainment denies that any criminal case has been filed against them. A spokesperson from the company said, " There are various articles being circulated by Mr John Abraham's JA Entertainment claiming that criminal cases have been filed against Ms Prerna Arora of KriArj Entertainment. As also clarified by us at numerous times in the past we hereby re confirm that the allegations made by JA Entertainment are false and frivolous and that it is in fact JA Entertainment who is guilty of various breaches of our understanding with them including infringement of copyright and cheating / fraud which is the sole basis for our filing multiple criminal complaint/s and the copyright infringement suit against JA Entertainment before the Hon’ble Bombay High Court which is due to be listed for hearing on Monday. In addition to our earlier criminal complaint a fresh criminal complaint was also filed yesterday by KriArj against JA Entertainment and Mr John Abraham for piracy / leakage of Film materials including the poster and teaser of the Film as owned by KriArj Entertainment. As per our knowledge, no case has been registered against Prerna Arora or any members of team KriArj by the Khar Police Station and it is apparent that the attempts made by JA Entertainment are nothing but an immature counterblast and an afterthought against KriArj to defame them and to sabotage the release and distribution of the Film by KriArj in spite of being fully aware of KriArj’s rights in the Film as Co producers, joint owners and exclusive right holders. After receiving close to 30 Crores as and when demanded by KriArj on a film which was to be made on a budget of Rs 22 Crores KriArj was still never given books of accounts showing the true extent of expenses done on the Film. This is just one of the several breaches due to which we have sued JA Ent before the Bombay High Court. We have great respect for the judiciary. As the matter is subjudice we reserve our right to make further statements once matters are decided by Court.”
Clearly, we haven’t heard the last word in this battle and it looks like it’s going to be a long, messy one.