Mumbai: Now that the war between Ajay Devgn and Yash Raj Films has thickened over the number of screens alloted for the release of 'Son of Sardaar' and late Yash Chopra's 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan', the actor-producer insists that he is waging a fair fight and knew he would be painted as a villain after he serves a legal notice on the issue.
Ajay Devgn Films (ADF) has filed a complaint in The Competition Commission Of India (CCI) alleging that Yash Raj Films (YRF), headed by the legendary filmmaker, had used its dominant position following which Devgn's movie is not finding enough single screen theatres for his film's exhibition.
The 43-year-old actor said that he had filed the notice much before the demise of Yash Chopra (October 21). "I had filed the complaint much before the demise of Yash Chopra. When this happened I was like people are going to target me and nobody is going to understand my point of view... I was a villain on both sides. I couldn't withdraw it (notice) from the Competition Commission... It is not a normal court," Ajay told PTI.
"I respected Yashji as much anybody else does. We have grown up watching his films," he added. Both are awaited movies of the year, given the fact that 'JTHJ' is late filmmaker Chopra's last directorial before his sudden death last month, marking the union of Chopra with powerbrand Shah Rukh Khan after eight years, and 'SoS' is ADF's trademark Diwali entertainer high on comic expectations.
Ajay claims that YRF has armtwisted exhibitors to dedicate more screens to 'JTHJ', than his 'SoS', both which are up for release on November 13. He insists that he has been fighting for his right and asking only for a fair view on the matter.
"I am fighting for my right. I am not asking anyone to stop the release of a film, I am not asking for compensation, I am asking them to be fair," he said. "I want both the films to do well. Even by filing this I don't think I have done anything that will harm anyone. If I lose then it won't be my benefit but if I win also it won't be a loss to anyone," he added.
Ajay also said he has no grudges against anyone as he is fighting for his rights as a producer. "I have put forward my grievances. I don t have issues with anyone. Tomorrow if this thing gets solved we will be like one big family.. I will not keep any grudges against anyone," he said.
Though the controversy came to light recently but the issue has been going on for almost three months. "We have been fighting on this with the exhibitors and distributors to a point where they cannot do anything. And then we decided to go to Competition Commission which took us more than a month as there is a lot of paper work involved. Its been almost going on three months," Ajay said.
"I was like how easily and smoothly we can solve it...It is good. It is eventually negative publicity and I don't want that... Even if I want to fight with them I will try to make my product better," he added.
Ajay also reveals that before taking the legal step, he tried to convey his message to Yash Raj Films on the matter, but as nothing fruitful came out he resorted to filing a notice.
"Through people messages were sent and things were spoken. Directly I haven't met them I don't share that rapport with them. And through exhibitors themselves we tried to manage things but when it did not happen..then," he said. "In my 20 years of career I am not like someone who would get involved into any controversy...I hate controversy and I tried to be away from it. But what has to be done it has to be done," he said.
Earlier, YRF in a statement had claimed to have booked less than 1,500 single screens out of the 10,500-plus single screens available on all-India basis. "We would like to clarify at the outset that we still haven't received any notice from the Commission and will suitably represent our stance if and when called upon to do so," the statement had said.
However, shedding light on the number of screens available to ADF, Ajay said out of the total 10,000 screens only a handful of them were given to 'Son of Sardaar'. "Out of the 10,000 screens if they have booked 1,500 and I have 8,000 screens then am I fool to spend money and lose my reputation and go to court. It does not make sense logically. Secondly going by the statistics then out of the 10,000-12,000 screens more than 5,000-6,000 are in South where only regional films release," he said.
"Then in the remaining 4,000-4,500 screens 1,500 2,000 are closed... Those which are operational are less. For example in Dadar there are about seven single screen theatres they have booked six, in Delhi there are 21 single screens we have three.. This is something that has never happened before.. You can verify it," he added.