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Plea To Stay 'Chhapaak' Movie: Copyright Can't Be Claimed On True Events; Meghna Gulzar Tells Bombay HC

Nitish Kashyap
8 Jan 2020 5:15 AM GMT
Plea To Stay Chhapaak Movie: Copyright Cant Be Claimed On True Events; Meghna Gulzar Tells Bombay HC
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Meghna Gulzar, Director of the movie 'Chhapaak' filed an affidavit before the Bombay High Court on Tuesday and told the Court that it was a settled law that copyright cannot be claimed on true life events and sought dismissal of a suit seeking stay on release of the said film scheduled for release on January 10.

One Rakesh Bharti filed the said suit and Gulzar stated in her affidavit that it was "wholly misconceived, frivolous, legally untenable and unmeritorious." It has been filed with an ulterior motive to gain publicity and to obstruct or delay the release of the film, Gulzar stated.

The petition came up for hearing before Justice SC Gupte and the plaintiff claims that he has been developing the idea for the said story since 2014 and the same year Laxmi gave him permission to make a movie on her life. Bharti alleges that he also met executives at Fox Star Studios and finally wrote to Meghna in February 2017 but she did not reply, the petition states.

The movie is based on the story based on acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. A 32-year-old man threw acid on her face when she was just 15 as she refused his advances.

Dr.Birendra Saraf instructed by Naik Naik and Co appeared for the filmmakers and Advocate Ashok Saraogi is appearing on behalf of petitioner.

The affidavit states-

"The plaintiff has failed to place any material on record which would even prima facie establish that the suit film is infringing copy or imitation of the suit work.

The details of pre-production and post-production activities of the film are in public domain since February 2017. The suit film has been publicized widely through print media and digital platforms. Therefore, it is unconceivable that the petitioner was unaware of this Defendant producing the suit film."

Moreover, Gulzar asserts in her affidavit that copyright protection cannot be extended to information that constitutes facts available in public domain that is based on events which have factually transpired.

"Plaintiff seeks to protect the mere idea/ or concept of a film based on the life of Laxmi Agarwal. This is apparent since the plaint doe not sustain a claim of copyright infringement and only consists of bald, vague and unsubstantiated allegations without placing any relevant material on record", the affidavit states.

It was also pointed out in the affidavit that it is not specified anywhere in the said suit how the plaintiff's story and the story of "Chhapaak" the movie was the same.

The matter will now come up for hearing tomorrow at 3 pm.

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