Promotional trailer only meant to encourage viewer to purchase movie ticket: Supreme Court

07:50 PM Apr 22, 2024 | PTI |

New Delhi: A song, dialogue, or a short visual in a trailer are used to create a buzz about the release of a film and do not represent information about its contents, the Supreme Court said on Monday while setting aside an order of the top consumer disputes body which directed Yash Raj Films to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation besides litigation costs to a consumer aggrieved by exclusion of a song in Bollywood movie “Fan”.


Allowing the appeal filed by the film production firm, a bench of Justices P S Narasimha and Aravind Kumar said there was no “deficiency” in service and the complainant wrongly assumed that a promotional trailer is an offer or a promise.

The top court’s verdict came while hearing an appeal filed by Yash Raj Films Pvt Ltd challenging an order of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) which upheld the State Commission’s 2017 direction to pay a compensation of Rs 10,000 to Afreen Fatima Zaidi and a litigation cost of Rs 5,000.

“A song, dialogue, or a short visual in a promotional trailer may be seen in the context of the multifarious uses of advertisements. These could be used to popularise or to create a buzz about the release of the film, rather than to purely represent information about the contents of the film…

“A promotional trailer is unilateral. It is only meant to encourage a viewer to purchase the ticket to the movie, which is an independent transaction and contract from the promotional trailer. A promotional trailer by itself is not an offer and neither intends to nor can create a contractual relationship,” the bench said.


The top court said since the promotional trailer is not an offer, there is no possibility of it becoming a promise.

“Therefore, there is no offer, much less a contract, between the appellant and the complainant to the effect that the song contained in the trailer would be played in the movie and if not played, it will amount to deficiency in the service.

“The transaction of service is only to enable the complainant to watch the movie upon the payment of consideration in the form of purchase of the movie ticket. This transaction is unconnected to the promotional trailer, which by itself does not create any kind of right of claim with respect to the content of the movie,” the bench said.

The apex court said the promotional trailer does not fall under any of the instances of “unfair method or unfair and deceptive practice”.

The complainant, on watching the promos of the film starring Shah Rukh Khan, decided to watch it with her family members. The promo, which Zaidi and her children had seen before going to the cinema hall to watch the movie, included a song “Jabra Fan” but when she watched the film, the song was missing, she had alleged in the complaint.

Feeling “cheated and deceived”, the complainant approached the district forum concerned by way of a consumer complaint seeking compensation along with a direction to the petitioners to air the promos and song with a caveat that the said song was not included in the film.

The complaint was dismissed by the district forum, after which she approached the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Maharashtra, which was opposed by the production house.

The production house submitted that the complainant cannot be said to be a consumer and that the song “Jabra Fan” was shown on TV channels as a promotional trailer of the film and it had been disclosed to the public at large by way of press interviews that the said song will not be a part of the movie.


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