- Neerja's family allege makers didn't share 10% of net profit
- Neerja's kin: We were offered a pittance which we refused to accept
- Neerja producers deny any wrongdoing
"The entire episode has trappings of a criminal conspiracy between respondent (Bling Unplugged) and Fox Star Studios India Pvt Ltd, who right from the inception of the agreement (between the family and the producers), in a planned manner had dishonestly induced the petitioners and family members of late Rama Bhanot with the intention of wrongful gains to themselves," says the petition filed by the Bhanots, reports IANS.
The petition also claims that Bling offered the Bhanots just over Rs 24.57 lakh in July 2016 as their 10 per cent share, which they refused to accept. The producers 'exploited the family and their resources to the hilt,' alleges the petition.
Neerja's brother Aneesh Bhanot told IANS, "When it came to paying 10 per cent of the profits, the producer contended that Fox Star Studios were to keep 80 per cent of the profits while Bling was to get the rest. We were offered a pittance which we refused to accept. We were to put the money in a Trust in the name of Neerja and help other people."
Bling Entertainment, which co-produced Neerja, is headed by fashion photographer Atul Kasbekar. Mr Kasbekar disputes the allegation that the Bhanots' share of the profits were kept from them and called their decision to sue 'unfortunate.' Last month, he told news agency PTI, "Their share of the profits, which is a share of ours, has been immediately offered. They have declined to accept the same and now wish to get a share of the studio (Fox Star) profits. This is effectively a retrospective negotiation and not as per what is signed by them years ago. It is unfortunate that despite having a clear contractual arrangement the Bhanots have decided to dispute the financial understanding at this belated stage."
Neerja tells the story of braveheart air stewardess Neerja Bhanot who died while saving passengers on board the hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 in 1986. She was awarded the Ashoka Chakra the next year. (With inputs from IANS and PTI)