Court halts release of film exploiting Karan Johar’s celebrity status

On June 13, 2024, the Bombay High Court issued an ad-interim injunction in the case of Karan Johar vs. Indiapride Advisory Pvt Ltd. Karan Johar, also known as Rahul Kumar Johar, filed a suit seeking to restrain the defendants from using his name and attributes in their film “Shadi Ke Director Karan Aur Johar” / “Shadi Ke Director Karan Johar.” The film was scheduled for release on June 14, 2024. Karan Johar filed the case on the grounds that the film’s title and promotional materials unlawfully exploited his celebrity status and misled the public into associating the film with him.

Karan Johar’s counsel contended that Johar’s name and persona are well-recognized due to his influential role in Bollywood, which includes directing several blockbuster films. He argued that Karan Johar had personality and celebrity rights, which were recognized in prior judgments of the Madras High Court and Delhi High Court.

After hearing Karan Johar’s counsel, the court acknowledged the urgency of the matter and found a prima facie case in favor of Johar. It observed that the film’s title clearly references Karan Johar, likely causing public confusion and implying his association with the project. The court held that this unauthorized use of Johar’s name violated his personality rights, right to publicity, and right to privacy. Consequently, the court granted an ad-interim injunction, restraining the defendants from using Johar’s name or attributes in the film’s title, promotion, or release until further orders.

Citation: Karan Johar v. Indiapride Advisory Pvt Ltd., IA(L) No. 17865 of 2024 in Com IPR Suit (L) No. 17863 of 2024 (Bom. June 13, 2024).

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