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Entertainment

BR Films’ two bungalows to be sold to clear debts

September 05, 2018 05:46 AM

courtesy  MIRROR MUMBAI SEPT 5

BR Films’ two bungalows to be sold to clear debts
The production house owes Viacom 18 over Rs 20 crore after failing to make 2 movies
| Sunil.Baghel@timesgroup.com
TWEETS @baghelsMIRROR

Two bungalows owned by BR Films, the production house behind some of Hindi cinema’s biggest and most memorable movies, will be sold to recover the money that the company owes to Viacom 18 network.

The Bombay High Court, in an order passed last week, finalised the sale of the two properties, jointly called Garden Homes, in Khar West for Rs 9.5 crore to one Zohaib Ismailbhai Mansuri. The final amount that will be paid after accounting for specific expenses incurred during the process will not cover the entire debt and Viacom 18 will continue to pursue the matter in court. BR Films had failed to pay over Rs 20 crore to the network.

BR Films produced blockbusters such as Waqt, Hamraaz, Nikaah, Mazdoor, Baghbaan and the mega hit TV serial Mahabharat. Mirror had published a series of articles in 2013 on the cases filed against BR Films; 27 creditors had demanded over Rs 32 crore. The production house was then represented by an ailing Ravi Chopra, the son of filmmaker BR Chopra. Ravi passed away in November 2014.

The high court had earlier ordered the production house to not sell any properties, which included the iconic BR House, where BR Chopra lived and breathed his last in 2008. In April 2013, the family struck a final agreement with a private bank to pay all creditors and managed to save the iconic bungalow. The family, which was granted two extensions, raced against time, physically delivering demand drafts worth Rs 31.97 crore to the 27 creditors.

In the current case, Viacom 18 had provided Rs 7.5 crore to BR Films for a movie to be produced under the title Banda Ye Bindas Hai between September 2007 and August 2008, and Rs 1.75 crore for another film titled Paanch Pandav around the same period. In return, it was supposed to get acquisition/distribution rights of the movies. But the movies were never made, pushing BR Films into a default.

In 2010, Viacom started seeking repayments, but to no avail. It then invoked the arbitration clauses in the agreements and approached the high court with a request to appoint of an arbitrator. Last year, retired justice VC Daga directed BR Films to repay the money at varied rates of interest, which pushed its debt to over Rs 18 crore.

Viacom, after waiting for the appeal period to end, moved the court again through law firm Naik, Naik and Co, seeking execution of the arbitration awards. Justice Gautam Patel invited bids through the deputy sheriff, and last week, he finalised the sale terms. The payments for the two bungalows now need to be settled by October 1 and December 3. If Mansuri fails to do so, he will lose payments he has paid so far, including the earnest money of Rs 50 lakh for each bungalow. Mansuri originally bid Rs 6 crore for the properties and later raised it to Rs 9.5 crore.

Kapil Chopra of BR Films, one of late Ravi Chopra’s sons, did not respond to Mirror’s repeated calls

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