GC MAGAZINE > Interview > Lavin Hirani
INTERVIEW: Lavin Hirani,
Head of legal affairs,
Red Chillies Entertainments
Lavin Hirani is the legal right-hand man to one of Bollywood’s biggest stars, Shah Rukh Khan,
at blockbuster film production house and studio, Red Chillies Entertainments. He takes GC
through some of his career highlights and the issues facing the Indian film industry.
G C I N T E R V I E W
I pursued my Masters of Law at the University of Manchester, England, where one of the subjects I specialised in was Intellectual Property Rights. Upon my return to India, through stints at some of the top media and entertainment law firms in Mumbai, I gained insight and knowledge into the various models being adopted by the Hindi film industry in structuring films, while also handling several film and television-related disputes.
After seven or eight years, I decided to explore opportunities working in-house, and I was offered a role with Red Chillies Entertainments.
The company is not just a production house, but is also capable of distributing and syndicating its films to the end consumer without the need of a studio to distribute its content. Very recently, Red Chillies has also tied up with companies such as Netflix for the production of original content.
Apart from my responsibilities as the head of legal, I also double up as the personal legal adviser for Mr Khan, handling all forms of legal work related to his endorsement engagements, investments, litigation and other similar work. In every interaction I have had with him, there is always something to learn, given his vast experience in the film industry.
The media and entertainment space in India is much wider than just the Hindi film industry. In fact, as a media and entertainment lawyer working in India, one can easily adapt and negotiate contracts or deals on films across the world, especially with the US and UK film industries, as there is much similarity between the copyright laws, having been based on and arising out of common treaties and conventions such as the Berne Convention.
The content being produced by Red Chillies Entertainment is primarily in Hindi as its original language. However, the reach of the films, especially the ones featuring Mr Khan, have global appeal and outreach.
The nature of the film business is such that it is constantly evolving, with newer players, markets and technologies being introduced year on year. These are exciting times for the media and entertainment space.
As the head of legal, I deal with all issues at grassroots level. Not only am I expected to be aware of the issues by regularly updating myself, but I also provide business effective solutions to the issues and trends facing the industry.
I take pride in the fact that I have made Red Chillies a litigation-free company, after having ensured that pending litigation against the company has been settled or disposed of, to avoid unnecessarily mounting legal costs. In addition, I have streamlined all marketing, syndication and distribution contracts across all platforms and with several partners, which has helped us become more organised and compliant with existing laws and policies and also to expedite our deals with the various syndication partners we deal with from time to time.
As we have a small team, the most challenging work is typically during a release of a film, when everything is required at breakneck speeds.
There is a lot of interesting stuff happening at the moment. With the reorganisation of the company a few years back, and the teething years behind us, there are a lot of new avenues being explored, which would lead me into different horizons and keep it interesting and relevant for me – I hope!