High Court Summons Netflix and Co-Producer of “Animal” to on Plea to Restrain OTT Release

In response to a request by Cine 1 Studios, a co-producer of the Bollywood film Animal, to halt the film’s release on digital streaming services and its satellite broadcast, the Delhi High Court has summoned Super Cassettes and Netflix.

Sandeep Reddy Vanga directed the film, which debuted in theaters on December 1, 2023, and will stream on Netflix on January 26.

The co-producer of the movie, Super Cassettes Industries Pvt Ltd, and Cluver Max Entertainment Pvt Ltd (previously known as Sony Pictures Networks Ltd), with whom the movie’s satellite rights were agreed to be granted, were summoned by the high court.

The three defendants’ written statements will not be recorded unless they file affidavits of admission or denial of the documents provided by the plaintiff, according to Judge Sanjeev Narula.

Therefore, permit the plaint to be filed as a lawsuit. In its ruling on Thursday, the high court stated, “Issue summons.”

Super Cassettes argued that Rs 2.6 crore had been paid to the plaintiff, which it had not disclosed to the court, while Cine 1 Studios Pvt Ltd claimed a breach of agreement and that it had not received any payment at all.

The document presented in this regard, according to Cine 1’s attorney, was purportedly “ex-facie forged & fabricated.”

The High Court stated that any party who unjustly withholds documents will be responsible for costs and scheduled the matter before the Joint Registrar for pleading completion and exhibit marking on March 15.

In response to the plaintiff’s plea for an interim injunction to prevent the movie from being released on over-the-top (OTT), digital, and satellite platforms, the high court requested that the defendants submit their responses by January 20 and scheduled a hearing for January 22.

Senior attorney Sandeep Sethi, who is defending Cine 1 Studios, claims that the plaintiff was not given any information regarding the movie’s earnings, box office receipts, music, satellite, or internet rights.

“They (Super Cassettes) have been collecting all the money but I have not been paid a single penny… I have a long relationship with them but they have no respect for the agreement. I had regard for the relationship & the sanctity of the contract, therefore, I did not rush to court,” he has submitted.

The two production companies had a deal in place to produce the movie, according to the plaint. Cine 1 asserted that it was entitled to 35 percent of the intellectual property rights in the film and had a 35 percent profit share under the terms of the agreement.

The lawsuit stated that Super Cassettes made, promoted, and released the movie without the consent of Cine 1 and collected box office proceeds without disclosing any information to it. In addition, Super Cassettes denied any payment to the plaintiff in spite of the profit-sharing arrangement, the plaintiff claimed.

Senior attorney Amit Sibal has argued on behalf of Super Cassettes that his client covered all costs associated with the film and that the plaintiff made no financial investment in it.

He has claimed that the plaintiff withheld from the court that it had given up all of its intellectual property rights to the movie on August 2, 2022, despite the judge having seen a document signed by the parties.

“In the amended agreement, he (Cine 1) has deleted the clause where he got 35 per cent of intellectual property right in the film…. All this has been given up for consideration of Rs 2.6 crore for which he raised an invoice,” Sibal has said.

He has said this critical & material information was concealed from the court.

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