Gajendra Singh Files Case Against Prasar Bharti Over Reality Show
Gajendra Singh and Saaibaba Telefilms approach the Delhi High Court against Prasar Bharti.
Trouble seems to be brewing in the television industry as two big names have been locked in a bitter dispute since last few months and now the matter is being fought out in the court. Mumbai based production house Saai Baba Telefilms have filed a case against Prasar Bharti (Broadcasting Corporation of India) under Section 11 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996.
Saaibaba Telefilms had entered into a contract with Prasar Bharti in April 2017 for sourcing of content on Prime time with DD National Network. The production house headed by Gajendra Singh of Sa Re Ga Ma and Antakshari fame were supposed to launch their new programmes Suron Ka Eklavya which was a singing reality show and the other one MBA Sarpanch a daily soap. Both the shows were the part of DD National revamp programme.
On 21 July 2017 the channel informed the production house about their readiness to telecast MBA Sarpanch from 31 July 2017 onwards at 7.30 PM to 8 .00 PM, on Monday to Friday. Prasar Bharti, a month later also approved their show Suron Ka Eklavya to be launched on 29 July 2017 in the 8.00 PM to 9.00 PM slot on Saturday and Sunday. It was also mentioned that failing to deliver the said show would attract penalty on the production house. As per the agreement the production house started the shooting of the show and completed 52 episodes all together. The production, marketing and promotion of both the shows were carried out as per planned.
Surprisingly, on the day of the show going on air, Prasar Bharti pulled a plug on both the shows citing instructions from the I&B Ministry. The channel shot emails to the producers calling them for a meeting with Shashi Vempati, the CEO of Prasar Bharti to discuss matters related to the New Content Acquisation Scheme.
The meeting was not attended by the CEO but by Smriti Irani, I&B Minister herself. The other people present in the meeting were Supriya Sahu, Director General of Doordarshan and NK Sinha, the secretary of I&B ministry. To the horrors of the producers, the Minister informed them that Suron Ka Eklavya would be suspended, just 4 hours prior to the scheduled commencement of telecast of the show, without any reason provided.
After that day the petitioners wrote various mails to the channel demanding an explanation but all their communications went unanswered. As a result, the production house suffered heavy losses and many people were rendered jobless.
“The discontinuation by sponsors and advertisers due to non-telecast of the show has caused huge monetary losses with a great extent of irrevocable damages and loss to the reputation earned by the petitioner,” reads their petition. After waiting for nearly 6 months the production house approached the Delhi High court and filed a petition against Prasar Bharti.
It was later revealed that another production house, Balaji Telefilms had also bagged a prime slot on DD National but was unable to deliver their show on time. As per the contract rules, Balaji would have lost approximately Rs 1.85 crore if the telecast was given a go ahead. Hence, to save Ekta Kapoor from the loss ‘good friend’ Smriti Irani allegedly intervened and pulled the plug on shows from both the production houses. When contacted Gajendra Singh of Saai Baba Telefilms, said, “We have already approached the court. I cannot comment on the topic as the matter is sub judice.”
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