A Hollywood producer has been accused of wrongfully suing to halt the release of Netflix’s “The White Tiger” starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas, according to new court papers.
Silver Screen and theater producer John Hart allegedly violated a 2013 settlement agreement over the rights to the movie adaptation of the 2008 Booker Prize winner and bestselling book “The White Tiger,” production company Lava Media claimed in a lawsuit filed Monday.
In the 2013 agreement, Hart and his company at the time allegedly gave up his rights to the movie adaptation and also gave up his right to sue over the movie in exchange for “substantial payments,” according to the filing in Manhattan Supreme Court.
But the day before the Jan. 22, 2021 release of the movie on Netflix, Hart filed suit in India’s Dehli High Court seeking to stop the movie from coming out, the document alleges.
Hart – who produced films including 1999’s “Boys Don’t Cry” and 2008’s “Revolutionary Road” – “egregiously claimed that he still had an interest in the motion picture adaptation,” despite the 2013 settlement, the suit alleges.
The high court rejected Hart’s bid for an emergency ruling, and that case is still playing out in India. Meanwhile, “The White Tiger” was released nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2021.
But the production company claims in its suit that it has incurred “attorney’s fees now well over one hundred thousand dollars” trying to fight the case in India and that its relationship with Netflix was damaged.
Hart’s “India lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to extort money from Lava Media with the anticipated release of the movie expected to be financially successful,” the Manhattan filing charges.
Lava is suing for unspecified damages.
Lava attorney Brian Brick told The Post: “The reality is this lawsuit didn’t just breach the contract but they interfered with the relationship that Lava has with Netflix.”
“Netflix had to deal with this nonsense,” Brick said.
Hart told The Post Monday that he won the rights to produce the movie in a 2009 agreement but that he and another producer were “defrauded” into “an elaborate labyrinth of incomplete and invalid agreements.”
He claims that Netflix and Lava founder Mukul Deora “unilaterally and illegally” changed that agreement in 2018 without signatures from him or his companies.
“Netflix and Mukul Deora made The White Tiger illegally by blatant copyright theft in plain sight in this manner,” he said.