Photo Credit: Netflix
Bad Boy Billionaires: India isn't coming to Netflix just yet. Multiple Indian courts — including one in Bihar and another in Hyderabad — have issued a stay on the release of Bad Boy Billionaires: India, after petitions were filed by two of its subjects. The Netflix investigative docuseries looks at the crimes committed by Kingfisher's Vijay Mallya, Sahara's Subrata Roy, jeweller Nirav Modi, and Satyam's Ramalinga Raju. While Roy wants his name entirely scrubbed off, Raju claims Bad Boy Billionaires: India is an unlawful invasion of his privacy. As such, Bad Boy Billionaires: India is unavailable on Netflix globally.
A Netflix spokesperson told Gadgets 360 it had no comment. Bad Boy Billionaires: India director Dylan Mohan Gray posted multiple tweets, which he has since deleted, voicing his displeasure over the decision. It is likely that Gray had to delete the tweets as they refer to an ongoing legal issue.
The legal troubles for Bad Boy Billionaires: India began with jeweller Mehul Choksi, who filed a petition in Delhi last week and demanded a personal screening prior to its release on Netflix. The streaming platform said this was “wholly misconceived” and that it would amount to censorship. The Delhi High Court dismissed the petition but said Choksi could file a civil suit if he desired. Choksi has filed a second petition that was to be heard Tuesday. Both Choksi and Modi are wanted for the Punjab National Bank fraud worth Rs. 13,700 crores. Modi is said to be hiding in the UK, and Choksi is said to be in Antigua in the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, in the same week, Roy filed his petition in Araria, Bihar, and alleged that Bad Boy Billionaires: India would “malign” his public image and have an “adverse effect” on the Sahara Group. The local court granted a stay on the series' release until Netflix appeared before it. The streaming service chose to approach the Supreme Court directly to seek dismissal of Roy's petition, which was heard earlier on Tuesday. The Supreme Court didn't listen to Netflix though, and said it should have approached the Patna High Court. The Sahara chief has ongoing cases civil case with Indian market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Sahara has now initiated criminal proceedings against Netflix, the company said, as it charged Netflix of maligning the image of Subrata Roy and the Sahara group.
Satyam's Raju also took to a civil court in Hyderabad alleging that Bad Boy Billionaires: India invaded his privacy, contained “half-truths”, and was designed to destroy his reputation. The court agreed and granted a stay, prohibiting Netflix from releasing the docuseries. Raju has already been convicted in the Satyam embezzlement scam worth over Rs. 7,000 crores. The Satyam founder was sentenced to seven years in jail in 2015 but granted bail a month later.
“There you go. This is no country for true stories,” Hansal Mehta said in a tweet, a rare Indian filmmaker who's addressed the legal troubles faced by Bad Boy Billionaires: India, which has been made in the UK. “Dear [Netflix India,] please fight this violation. All of us trying to tell true stories need your fight. These stories must be told. Nobody here has the gumption for a necessary battle.” Gray had also retweeted Mehta but he has since reversed the action.
Bad Boy Billionaires: India was set to release September 2 on Netflix. The streaming service displayed “Wednesday” on its platform until release time but it has now removed all mentions of a release date from the series' title page.
Update 03/09: this article has been updated to remove Gray's tweets which were deleted after publication. The statement about Subrata Roy's ongoing cases has also been updated.