Madras HC dismisses applications against release of Viswaroopam II

Chennai: The Madras High Court yesterday dismissed applications filed by a film production firm seeking to stall the release of actor Kamal Hassan’s “Viswaroopam II”, set to hit the screens tomorrow, over a financial dispute.

Justice M Sundar dismissed the applications by Pyramid Saimira Productions International for recovery of Rs 5.44 crore which the company claimed it had paid as advance to Hassan and his production house Raj Kamal Films International for making a film over 10 years ago.

Pyramid Saimira had originally filed civil suits for recovery of the Rs 5.44 crore, contending that Hassan had not discharged his obligations as per an agreement it had signed with him for producing the film titled “Marmayogi” in Tamil and Hindi.

The actor had also filed a suit against Pyramid Saimira Productions claiming damages of Rs 11 crore for alleged breach of conditions of the agreement, saying the firm had not honoured committed payments.

In the meanwhile, Pyramid Saimira Productions filed two applications seeking to stall the release of “Viswaroopam II”, citing the pendency of the suit. In his counter, Hassan termed as false Pyramid Saimira’s claim that he had not commenced the work on ‘Marmayogi’.

He further submitted that the company through its director K S Srinivasan had agreed to pay Rs 1 crore as remuneration for directing the movie and Rs 15 crore for acting with an initial payment of Rs 3 crore.

Though it paid Rs 4.5 crore to him and Raj Kamal Films as advance, Pyramid Saimira Productions did not keep its promise to pay further amounts as per the agreement for the pre-production expenses. Giving break-up of pre-production expenses totalling over Rs two crore incurred by him, he said the Pyramid Saimira Productions did not make the payment.

Also, Hassan denied the Pyramid Saimira Productions’s claim that he had made an assurance to book Bollywood actors like Amitabh Bachan, Hema Malini, Bipasha Basu and Priyanka Chopra.

The “deliberate omission and failure” to pay the amount caused a lot of hardship to him personally as well as to Raj Kamal Films in producing the movie, he said, adding that hence, he also filed a civil suit claiming damages against Pyramid Saimira Productions.

Pointing to the suits filed by both the actor and the Pyramid Saimira Productions, Justice Sundar said,”It is not clear as to why the parties have not sought for joint or simultaneous trial of the suits.”

He said a person seeking relief under relevant rule of the Civil Procedure Code should be able to establish that there were actions which intended to defeat the rights of the applicant and also a possible decree in future

“There is no categorical and specific allegation in this regard,” he said, adding that the bank guarantee furnished already in favour of Pyramid Saimira Productions over the suit was being renewed from time to time.

Noting that it was not the desirable to approach the court at the eleventh hour in cases of this nature, the judge said the parties would do well to seek a joint trial in all the suits in a manner known to law.