Netflix may not release its upcoming movie ‘Hotel Mumbai’ as the film has come under ownership dispute with a Dubai-based firm that has moved the Bombay High Court to block the release citing that it has the rights to release the film in the Indian market.
According to a petition filed by Plus Holdings in the Bombay High Court, the Dubai-based firm has claimed that it had bought the rights to the film from Australia-based Xeitgeist Entertainment Group but the latter terminated the agreement unlawfully and transferred the film’s rights to Netflix through a third party.
The Dubai firm has asked the court to restrain Netflix, Xeitgeist and other associated parties from claiming any rights to the film in India till the time the ongoing dispute with Xeitgeist is not resolved by a Singapore arbitration court.
Netflix will reportedly likely withdraw its claim on the India distribution rights and will not release the film as the ownership of the rights had passed through several hands.
‘Hotel Mumbai’ is a film starring Dev Patel that is based on the 26/11 terrorist attack that took place in Mumbai in 2008 during which killed as many as 166 people. The film narrative, which claims to be inspired by real events, covers the attack on the iconic Taj Mahal Palace located next to the Gateway of India.
This is not the first time Netflix has had an issue and up in court. In July last year, it was taken to court over the portrayal of India’s ex-prime prime minister Rajeev Gandhi, in its highly successful and its first Indian original series called ‘Sacred Games’.
The company is also part of the many OTT players in India that have volunteered to self regulate content on the platform in India.
“The self regulation code is a set of guiding principles for participating companies like us. It ensures an environment that protects the artistic vision of content producers so that their work can be seen by their fans. The code also empowers consumers to make viewing choices that are right for them and their families,” Netflix had said in response to the development.
The top OTT players in India are going strong on original content in the bid to capture the top spot in the highly lucrative content streaming market in India. Netflix has announced three Indian original productions — Ghoul, Leila and Crocodile, in addition to the four productions that include Selection Day, Again, and Bard of Blood.
Amazon Prime has announced 18 original shows for India, making it Amazon Inc.’s first international market with the largest number of original shows outside the US while homegrown OTT player while Hotstar is investing $16.9 Mn (INR 120 Cr) in original content.