Bombay HC allows release of Meghna Gulzar’s 'Chhapaak'

You cannot claim monopoly on a real-life incidents: Judge

January 08, 2020 05:17 pm | Updated December 03, 2021 07:06 am IST - Mumbai

Reel vs real: Deepika Padukone (right) with Laxmi Agarwal during the launch of title track of film Chhapaak.

Reel vs real: Deepika Padukone (right) with Laxmi Agarwal during the launch of title track of film Chhapaak.

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday allowed Deepika Padukone-starrer Chhapaak , which is based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal, to release as scheduled, on Friday.

A Single Bench of Justice S.C. Gupte was hearing a suit filed by Rakesh Bharti on December 26, demanding credit as a screenplay writer for the movie. He has also sought a temporary injunction from the court, restraining the entire team of the film from releasing and exhibiting it unless appropriate credit is given to him. Mr. Bharti has appealed that the court see the film and compare it to the story and screenplay written by him.

 

The court told Mr. Bharti’s advocate, Girish Godbole, that if there were any similarities between his script and the film, they would have to point it out. Justice Gupte also said their inability to do so, could set a precedent for anyone to file such an appeal in the court.

The court said in order to grant Mr. Bharti pre-release relief, he would have to make a valid case. “How are you claiming copyright infringement in the complaint? You have to prove that your work is in a public domain or that [director Meghna Gulzar] had access to it in order to prove infringement,” the Bench said.

Mr. Godbole said there were one-liners written by Mr. Bharti in the script, that were featured in the film’s promos. The Bench interrupted him and said, “You [Mr. Bharti] are claiming monopoly on a real-life incident. Any victim who has faced an acid attack is bound to say such things.”

The court also said Mr. Bharti would have to prove a copyright infringement either in concept or story, which would not be possible since no one has copyright on a real-life incident.

The court, however, kept the contentions open and adjourned the matter for six weeks. On Wednesday, Ms. Gulzar had filed an affidavit saying, “Copyright protection cannot be extended to information that constitutes facts available in public domain and is based on events that have factually transpired. Protection under the Copyright Act does not extend to ideas/concepts.”

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