The Delhi High Court asked the producers and writers of Amitabh Bachchan starrer film ‘Bhootnath Returns’ to try to settle the dispute with a Hindi writer who is alleging the flick is based on his short story.
“The petitioner is saying the heart of the movie, which is the trailer, is the complete adaptation of his literary work. Just have a meeting with him (writer) and see whether something can be done or not. Be truthful,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul said.
Senior advocate Pratibha Maninder Singh, appearing for Sushant Supriya, Hindi short story writer and poet, referred to nine expressions from the trailer of the movie, which is scheduled to hit theatres across the country on April 11 and said they have been copied from short story ‘Bhootnath’ of the writer published in 2007 in Hindi magazine ‘Aaj Kal’.
“I am not seeking injunction against the release of the movie,” the lawyer said.
“Then what do you want?,” the bench asked.
“I want the credit,” the lawyer said and referred to the reviews of 2008 flick ‘Bhootnath’, which also had Amitabh in lead role, in support of her submission.
“It is notable even the first ‘Bhootnath’ film was a copy of the ‘The Canterville Ghost’, a short story by Oscar Wilde.
“The defendants have never made an original film on the theme of a friendly ghost, and have not done so in the case of the infringing film as well…,” the petition said.
The lawyer said ‘Bhootnath Returns’ is not the sequel of earlier movie ‘Bhootnath’.
“Unlike most sequels, the infringing film is based on an entirely new storyline from the first Bhootnath film, and has no relationship with the first film, especially in terms of the supporting cast.
“Even the central character of the infringing film has no relationship with the central character of the first ‘Bhootnath’ film. This demonstrates that the infringing film has appropriated the Plaintiffs original literary work,” the petition said.
The petition has sought a direction from the court that the producers be prevented from “screening trailer” and releasing the “infringing” film in theatres.
“An order for permanent injunction restraining the Defendants, their partners or proprietor …from ‘infringing the copyright of the Plaintiff in the literary character Bhootnath, from screening the trailer of the film ‘Bhootnath Returns’ or releasing the film or parting with the satellite or DVD or internet rights for the film…” be passed, it said.
‘Bhoothnath Returns’, directed by Nitesh Tiwari, is a horror comedy film and is a sequel of 2008 flick ‘Bhootnath’.
The film is produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Ravi Chopra and co-produced by Ajay Kapoor.
Besides Bachchan, Boman Irani and Shah Rukh Khan are in supporting roles. The film also has a cameo appearance of Ranbir Kapoor.