Los Angeles: The father of a deceased producer and friend of Michael Jackson has sued the late King of Pop's estate. He has claimed that he's been denied the opportunity to make a tribute film to Jackson under a contract his son had with the singer.
Sharad Chandra Patel, whose son Raju Patel has produced films like “Bachelor Party” (1984) and "The Jungle Book" (1994), filed suit on Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court to enforce a creditor's claim that was rejected by the Jackson estate.
Sharad alleges that his son, who died of cancer in 2005, had a film company with Jackson called Neverland Entertainment and that a 2002 contract provides that all proceeds from their films will be split 50-50, reports hollywoodreporter.com.
When Jackson was arrested and charged with child molestation in 2003, Raju is said to have stayed loyal to his friend and business partner.
After the scandal subsided, Jackson is said to have wanted to make a film dedicated to his fans who also stood by him during the controversy, and a 2005 contract signed three months before Raju died provided that he and Jackson would make “Messages to Michael”, "a tribute to Michael and his loyal fans".
That contract, which includes language saying Raju "or his nominee" could make the film with Jackson "or his nominee", then allegedly was assigned from Raju to his father Sharad (who also is a producer) before the son died.
In the six years since Jackson died, Sharad has been trying to get access to Jackson's music and personal effects in order to make the film but has been reportedly shut out by estate executors John Branca and John McClain.