Salman Khan starrer Bajrangi Bhaijaan is making news again. But this time it isn’t because it’s breaking any box office records. The film is now facing a Rs. 50 crore copyright infringement suit.
The story goes something like this, Mahim Joshi, a writer, director and TV producer registered his story with the Indian Film and Television Producers Council and the Association of Motion Pictures and TV Programme Producers, in July of 2007. After which he approached Suresh Oberoi and son Vivek Oberoi’s production house Yashi Multi Media (YMM), for a film deal. The parties agreed to a five year exclusive contact. During the YMM contract period, Joshi also hired a team to search for shooting locations for the film.
However, the time period of the contract expired but no film could be materialised. Following this, Mr Joshi approached various other production houses. Viacom 18 was one such production house. It is Parveez Shaikh, a Viacom employee, whose name has been co-credited for the screenplay of Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
According to Mr. Joshi, the infringement has directly affected his chances of a successful launch in Bollywood. He also claims that story of Bajrangi Bhaijaan is an absolute and blatant copy. Besides this, there are also similarities between the screenplay and locations of the two.
The Bombay High Court, where the suit has been filed, examined the detailed comparison of the scenes and shots of the two films and concurred that there seems to be some similarity between the two. The video clips of the possible locations for the film, made by Joshi during the YMM contract, were also submitted. As per the claim, the locations in the clips and the film do bear certain similarities.
The Bombay High Court declined to give an interim injunction staying the television premiere of the film on the 10th October (11th October according to some sources). However, Justice Gautam Patel has directed all parties affiliated with the film, including producers Rockline Venkatesh, Rajessh Bhatt and Salman Khan, writer KV Vijayendra Prasad and director Kabir Khan, to maintain accounts of business. All respondents have been asked to submit their replies by the 21st of October, 2015. The next hearing will be held on 28th October, 2015