Entertainment Law: The joke isn’t funny anymore

Man of a thousand impressions, Kapil Sharma, is back in the news. But this time it isn’t because of his rib-tickling jokes or hilarious antics. His Bollywood debut “Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon” (“KKPK” for brevity) has landed in legal trouble, with its release date right around the corner. The film stars Kapil Sharma, Arbaaz Khan and Varun Sharma in lead roles and is directed by Abbas-Mustan.

The production house responsible for the Kannada film Nimbe Huli has filed a complaint against the makers of Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon for allegedly plagiarizing their storyline. Nimbe Huli, released last year, was about a cricket-betting agent who marries three women, with the comedic twist of all three of the women living in the same apartment complex. The rights to the Kannada comedy were acquired by a production house in Tamil Nadu, with the intention of remaking it in Hindi. However, after watching the trailer of the Kapil Sharma starrer, the production house was startled at the substantial amount of similarity between the two films. In the film, Kapil Sharma plays the role of the cheating husband of three wives, living in the same apartment building.

According to the producer of the film Ratan Jain, they have a valid defence, as they had registered the film and accompanying dialogues with the Screenwriters Association back in 2008 and Nimbe Huli was released in 2014.

Whatever the situation may be the production house behind Nibe Huli has filed a complaint in the Madras High Court last week and has also sent a legal notice to the makers of KKPR.

Recycling of jokes has been a staple of the mainstream comedy scene in India. Whether is it is doing impressions of the same actors (Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan etc.) or taking predictable comedic plots and using them time and again. It seems like everything has been done to death. The ‘tried and tested’ route definitely makes for a crowd pleaser, but somewhere in this bargain originality is lost.  Imitation may be the best form of flattery but lack of originality is certainly not flattering.

With the ongoing trend of remaking South Indian Films in Hindi, the present case is definitely not a surprise. As fans of Kapil Sharma are gearing up to get another taste of his brand of comedy, let’s wait and see who has the last laugh in this legal battle.
Authored by Anchita Sharma

Sources- here, here and here

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