In a development that has shocked many in Bollywood, actor-producer Ajay Devgn has served a legal notice to Yash Raj Films for unfairly using their dominant position in the industry and putting pressure on the exhibitors to give prominence to their upcoming film, Jab Tak Hai Jaan (JTHJ), over Devgn’s Son of Sardaar (SOS). Both the films are set to release on Diwali, i.e. on November 13.
Considering the old rivalry between JTHJ’s lead actor Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn, the clash is touted as one of the biggest in recent Bollywood history. Although the notice was filed on October 18 — three days prior to JTHJ’s director Yash Chopra’s death —it was served to his son, Aditya, only on Wednesday.
Ever since Yash Chopra’s demise, there has been talk about whether Devgn should postpone his film’s release to give a clear run to Chopra’s film as a mark of respect — a prospect Devgn has outrightly rejected. Even Shah Rukh Khan recently called it unfair to ask anyone to reschedule his film. “Yashji would have also wished for the other film to do well. Everyone puts in the same amount of hard work and love in their films. It is business at the end of day,” said Shah Rukh Khan.
But with Devgn’s legal notice, things are bound to heat up. “This is ridiculous. Ajay Devgn is wasting his time. YRF didn’t force the distributors, they just offered a choice and it was up to the distributors. If we are getting a good deal, why wouldn’t we take it? Ajay Devgn is just bringing on shame on himself. In fact, he has bleaked his movie’s chances in terms of business,” says film distributer Joginder Mahajan.
“This legal notice is not in good taste, considering it’s barely been a few days since Yash Chopra died. Ajay Devgn could have talked things out,” says trade expert Atul Mohan. Analysts predict that with the clash, the films are bound to eat into each others’ business by at least 30-35%. “They were neck to neck but now JTHJ has an upper hand due to the emotional element after Yashji’s death,” says trade analyst Taran Adarsh.
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