February 27, 2023 | 19:42
Producer John Hart is being sued by Lava Media for allegedly wrongfully trying to sue to block the release of “The White Tiger.”
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 breached a 2013 settlement agreement over rights to the 2008 Booker Prize-winning film adaptation of the best-selling 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 reportedly gave up the rights to the film adaptation and also gave up the right to sue the film in exchange for “significant payments,” according to the Manhattan Supreme Court filing.
But the day before the film’s January 22, 2021 release on Netflix, Hart filed a lawsuit in India’s Dehli High Court to try to stop the film from being released, the document claims.
Hart — who produced films including 1999’s “Boys Don’t Cry” and 2008’s “Revolutionary Road” — “vehemently maintained that he still had an interest in the film adaptation,” despite the 2013 settlement, the suit alleges.
The Supreme Court rejected Hart’s bid for an emergency ruling, and that case is still pending 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 lawsuit that it has incurred “legal fees now well over a hundred thousand dollars” to try 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 film expected to be financially successful,” Manhattan charges.
Lava is suing for unspecified damages.
Lava attorney Brian Brick told The Post, “The reality is that this lawsuit not only breached the contract, but they disrupted 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 film in a 2009 deal, but that he and another producer were “swindled” into “an elaborate maze of incomplete and void agreements.”
He claims that Netflix and Lava founder Mukul Deora “unilaterally and illegally” changed the agreement in 2018 without signatures from him or his companies.
“Netflix and Mukul Deora made The White Tiger illegally by blatant copyright theft in this way,” he said.