Ajay Devgn Complains Against Yash Raj Films to CCI

New Delhi/Mumbai
Ajay Devgn Complains Against Yash Raj Films to CCI
Competition Commission of India (CCI) has received a complaint from actor-producer Ajay Devgn against Yash Raj Films for alleged abuse of dominant position ahead of the release of their films this month.

The production house YRF, however, denied monopolising exhibitors.

Devgn had moved the CCI claiming that YRF was using its dominant position to ask exhibitors to dedicate more screens to their upcoming release, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, than for his film Son of Sardaar on November 13.

According to a senior CCI official today, the Commission has received a complaint from Devgn against YRF and they are looking into it and that a final decision is yet to be taken.

"The complaint is being considered. A decision on whether to accept it or not is likely to be taken in a week or so," the official said.

A source from Ajay Devgn Films said the actor-producer was forced to take this step because of "monopolistic practices of YRF".

"YRF reportedly told exhibitors it will give Ek Tha Tiger only if they agreed to give its Diwali release (Jab Tak..) prominence over other films. They are using their dominant position in the market to deny our film (Son of Sardaar) its rightful due. This is unfair," the source added.

But, YRF today said they were "shocked" to receive an intimation from Ajay Devgn Films' lawyers about the complaint filed with the CCI.

"For a company like ours, which has maintained the highest standards of work ethics and fair play, this has really come as a shock. We would like to clarify at the outset that we still haven't received any notice from the Commission and will suitably represent our stance if and when called upon to do so...

"A Yash Chopra/Shah Rukh Khan movie, coming after a gap of 8 long years, did not need any coercion for contractual screening," YRF said in the statement.

The film company questioned the timing of the complaint, saying the release date of Jab Tak Hai Jaan, directed by the late Yash Chopra, was announced in June 2011.

"...It was odd that Son of Sardaar announced their release for the same day almost a year later on May 29, 2012. They were also able to lock their final distribution partner as late as October 4, 2012. It would seem odd that they would expect us to wait for our release plans to be put in place till they had finalised theirs!"

Lawyers from Ajay Devgn Films (ADF) also released a statement saying, "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."

The statement added that such a tie-in arrangement in the present circumstances violates the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 more particularly Section 3.

"It is a well known fact that YRF is the most dominant player in the film business for the past four-five decades... Under the threat of not delivering Ek Tha Tiger which was the only film to be released on Eid/Independence day..., YRF forced the exhibitors to tie-in the release of the untitled movie (which is now titled Jab Tak Hai Jaan) on Diwali day (November 13, 2012) which is also an unusual day for release - Tuesday.

"...But for YRF's 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 single screens which clearly show the cause against YRF," the statement said.
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