Palador files case against UTV Software


    MUMBAI: Palador has filed a case against UTV Software Communications in the High Court for continued breach of terms regarding its World Cinema initiative.


    Palador is planning to demand upwards of Rs 150 million (Rs 15 crores) as damages.


    The move comes in the wake of UTV releasing its Hollywood and world cinema home video titles on 29 October, 2007 with plans of launching at least six titles every month.


    The two companies had come together earlier this year to launch a world cinema home video and television channel initiative under the brand name of Olive. However, a few months later the JV was called off.


    In August this year, there was a settlement between the two parties with UTV agreeing to give up 75 films acquired by UTV-Palador provided Palador pays the company Rs 40.30 million (Rs 4.03 crores), which is the sum Palador owes UTV, within 90 days from date of the consent decree, failing which these titles will belong to UTV.


    As per the settlement, UTV would also be pursuing its plans for World Cinema across all mediums including theatrical, home video and broadcasting.


    However, Palador filed a case yesterday under Section 34 of the Arbitration & Reconciliation Act of 1996 and is in the process of filing a few more including breach of trust, breach of non-disclosure agreements, defamation, damages and violation of intellectual property.


    Palador now claims that the money that UTV demanded (Rs 40.30 million) was inflated that details of how the amount was arrived upon was not disclosed to them.< Page Break >


    Palador further claims that it has discovered through its various partners that UTV has more materials comprising some rare posters, photographic material, priceless short films and negatives in its possession than it had declared in the settlement.


    In a statement, UTV Software Communications Ltd company secretary and legal head said, “Both parties entered into written and binding mutual consent terms, passed by the learned Arbitrator directing Palador Picture Pvt Ltd, Mr. Gautam Shiknis and Mr. Mohan Polamarsetty to pay to UTV Rs 4.03 crores within 90 days from the date of the award. The said 90 days expired on 31 October, 2007. Palador Picture Pvt Ltd failed to pay the agreed amount and hence UTV became the absolute owner of 75 films.”


    Palador claims UTV refused to comply with the documentation required by Palador’s lawyers. Further, it also received notices from parties who were supposed to have been paid as per UTV’s claims, still referring to Palador’s catalogue and continuing use of Olive – the brand conceived and owned by Palador.


    Palador founder and managing director Gautam Shiknis said, “We are a peace-loving company that has not yet reacted to the various harassments meted out by UTV in the past. But, there is a limit to how much one can tolerate. We stood through having our business plan being illegally hived off into another company, false allegations made against us in the global media and having our precious films maliciously claimed. We were left with no other recourse but to take this stand and deliver justice to itself, the employees that were thrown out of the door with 40 minutes notice and for the love of directors we worship.”


    Palador says it has expanded its catalogue to nearly 1000 films, as against under 200. Additionally, not only has it raised $ 6 million in funding, it is in final stages of paperwork to raise another $10 million from a large institutional investor.


    The company says it has forged bonds with some Indian companies to distribute its catalogue, and will unveil the same in the coming weeks.


    Palador has recently raised $ 4 million in investment, and spent over Rs 6 crores within a span of 90 days towards the cause of quality cinema and has confirmed its intent to pay UTV what was legitimately owed.


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    According to Palador, UTV has breached the terms of the agreement. Palador cited the reasons for the breach as follows:


    Authenticity of the amount being claimed by UTV

    UTV’s denial to return all the materials that belong to Palador

    UTV’s refusal to comply with clause 2 of the settlement agreement that demanded it to furnish documents to effectively return the movies to Palador on payment.


    UTV’s breach of provisions of the settlement agreement, by continuing to use Palador’s brand Olive.


    Related stories:
    UTV unveils world cinema on home video


    Palador settles dispute with UTV; gets funds


    UTV severs ties with Palador for World Cinema label


    UTV launches new biz vertical UTV Palador