Decks have been cleared for the release of Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Satyagraha this Friday with the Bombay High Court refusing to stay the film’s exhibition while hearing a suit filed by a producer claiming he was the original copyright owner of the movie’s title.
Justice S.J. Kathawala allowed Prakash Jha, producer of Satyagraha, to go ahead with the film’s release on August 30 as he felt no case had been made out by the plaintiff for an ad-interim relief to stay the film’s exhibition.
Rajesh Mishra of M/s Narayani productions had filed a suit claiming he had first registered the title Satyagraha with Indian Film and TV Producers Council (formerly Association of Motion Pictures and TV Programme Producers).
Hence, Mr. Mishra said, he was the owner of the title and it could not have been given to Prakash Jha.
However, the Council, which was asked to appear on Wednesday in this case, pointed out that Mishra’s registration had lapsed, following which Mr. Jha approached them and got the title.
The plaintiff alleged Satyagraha director Prakash Jha and his film production company had illegally used the title and that defendants be restrained by an order to use it.
He argued the title had been lifted by Mr. Jha without his permission and it would cause him irreparable harm unless he was suitably compensated with money.
Mr. Mishra alleged the title of the feature film had been snatched by manoeuvring practice and procedure and by adopting cheating and criminal breach of trust by the defendants.
He said he reserved his right to file criminal cases of cheating and criminal breach of trust against the defendants and office-bearers of the Indian Film and TV Producers Council, which has been made a respondent.
When the title was registered with the Council, how did they give the same title to Mr. Jha and his company? the plaintiff sought to know.