Last week, I had covered the copyright controversy surrounding the upcoming Hindi film “Raabta” (over here). The producers of the movie had been sued by the Geeta Arts, the producers of the Telugu film “Magadheera” over alleged copyright infringement. I had also promised to provide an update as soon as new details emerge.
Over the last two days, news reports have been flashing headlines that indicate a copyright victory in favour of Raabta. After reading a few of these reports and doing a quick check on the court website, here’s what I could gather:
The injunction application filed by Geeta Arts has apparently been reserved for orders. The entire script of the movie, ‘Raabta’ was filed along with a comparative chart of the two movies. On this count, the Firstpost report mirrors a Mid-day coverage that quotes the ‘Raabta’ lawyer as saying, “We have filed the entire script of our film along with a comparative chart showing how the two films are completely different in the their story, treatment and expression, something that the Plaintiff ought to have done in the first place as part of his pleadings to show comparative similarities.”
This is consistent with the Hyderabad City Civil Court website which does not reflect any order of this case. However, when searched by case status, it shows that the next date is listed for 23rd June, 2017. The URL of the ‘case status’ page does not redirect to it, but I am providing the relevant details for the benefit of our readers. These can be used to access the status of the case on the website –
- Website URL: http://services.ecourts.gov.in/ecourtindia_v5/#
- State: Telangana; District: Hyderabad; Court Complex: Chief Judge, City Civil Court, Hyderabad
- CNR number: TSHCO10017232017
- Case type: OS – ORIGINAL SUIT
- Filing Number: 486/2017
- Registration Number: 368/2017
- Petitioner: M/s Geeta Arts
- Respondent: Dinesh Vijan.
The Deccan Chronicle coverage of the matter indicates that after the hearing, both the sides urged the court to pass the order by June 8, but the court refused to be bound by any deadlines.
The idea-expression dichotomy along with the major technical differences between the plot lines of the two films, were vehemently argued by Team Raabta. Both the aforementioned reports indicate this. Firstpost reports, “The lawyers fighting Raabta’s case argued on 7 July that the storyline, the background of the characters, the locations, the finale and the role of the villain in the film are completely different from that of Magadheera.”
In addition, Mid-day notes, “The makers further pointed out the similiarities, even if there were any, were purely on themes that are generic to every film made on reincarnation of two lovers.”
The Deccan Chronicle coverage confirms the same, “Makers of ‘Raabta’ argued for over 5 hours in court yesterday and today citing several differences in the script and storyline of their films ‘Raabta’ and ‘Magadheera’.”
The suit has since been withdrawn by the producers of Magadheera. This seems to be the main reference point for the shouts of copyright victory echoing through media channels. Indian Express notes, “After a legal battle between both the sides, the makers of Raabta, today morning, sent a message saying, ‘RAABTA wins!!!! Magadheera withdraws.’ An official from the Magadheera team also confirmed that they have withdrawn the case and have agreed to an out of court settlement instead.”Indian Express has also managed to confirm the same by speaking to the producer of the movie, Mr. Dinesh Vijan.
This withdrawal finds expression in the afore-mentioned Firstpost report as well, “Producers of Ram Charan and Kajal Aggarwal’s Telugu movie Magadheera on withdrew a plagiarism case they slapped against the makers of Bollywood film Raabta on the morning of Thursday, 8 June 2017.”
The withdrawal and promise of settlement closes the matter in terms of any available avenues for interesting copyright developments. Just in time too – as the film is all set to release today!
Image from here.