After an eight month long tedious copyright battle Jyoti Kapoor can breathe a sigh of relief. The Supreme Court in its momentous decision stated that there existed similarities between Jyoti Kapoor’s script of “R.S.V.P.” and Kunal Kohli forthcoming film “Phir Se.” The Court also ordered Kohli to pay compensation of Rs. 25 lakh and give her due credit for the idea of the story.
Jyoti Kapoor’s win against Kohli can be taken as a step in the right direction, which may encourage other script writers to pursue legal action against big production houses. The plight of these script writers is not something that is unheard of. In the case of Jyoti Kapoor, her ordeal began when she mailed her script to Kunal Kohli hoping for a possible film deal. However, Kohli wanted to make certain changes to the script and planned on buying the script, which meant Jyoti would not get any credit, and the deal was off the table.
After that Kohli started working on his film project “Phir Se”, with a storyline similar to that of Jyoti’s script. When Jyoti noticed the substantial similarities between his story line and her script she took the matter to Film Writers Association. The dispute settlement body of Film Writers Association decided in the favour of Jyoti, putting a stay on Kohli’s film shoot. Aggrieved by this Kohli went to Appellate Tribunal which upheld the judgment of Film Writers Association. Leaving no stone unturned, Kunal Kohli then went to Joint Dispute Settlement Committee consisting of members of the IMPPA and the Federation of Western India Cine Employees. But Jyoti suspected possible foul play, having serious ramification on the fate of the case and she was prompted to take the matter to the High Court of Bombay. The High Court ordered for a guarantee of Rs. 50 lakhs from Kohli ,but vacated the stay. Dissatisfied with decision Jyoti then approached the Supreme Court which ruled in her favor, stating a copyright violation and breach of confidentiality on Kohli’s part.
This 8 month long battle from Dispute Settlement Committee to Supreme Court, which ended with Jyoti’s victory, is not just a ray of hope for struggling writers, but an affirmation that law does not always side with big production houses.
The post has been authored by Matisa Majumder.