Mumbai: Observing that prima facie there had been a copyright violation, Bombay High Court, on Friday, directed Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan to deposit Rs one crore with the court before releasing his ambitious Diwali offering ‘Ra.One’.
“The defendants (Sharukh, his production house Red Chillies Entertainment and Eros Entertainment) are directed to deposit a sum of Rs one crore as pay-order to the court and then release the movie,” the division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi said.
The court was hearing the petition filed by television producer and writer Yash Patnaik, who contends that he is the original copyright owner of the concept and the content of ‘Ra.One’, produced by Red Chillies Entertainment.
The court added that if the defendants failed to deposit the money tomorrow, an injunction against the movie’s release would become operational.
“It is the most unfortunate part of the film industry that people use others’ concepts and then don’t want to pay or give them credit,” the bench remarked.
The court has kept final decision on the issue of copyright violation pending, and would hear arguments in due course of time.
‘Ra.One’, starring Shahrukh, Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal, is slated to release on 26 October.
Patnaik had sought a stay to the film’s release until he was given credit for the concept of the futuristic superhero that Shahrukh plays in ‘Ra.One’. He had sought 10% of the profits, in case he was not given the credit.
His lawyer, senior advocate Ravi Kadam, had argued Thursday that the superhero character resembled the one in Patnaik’s concept of 2006, in “attributes and appearance”.
“The super-villain of Patnaik’s script was called ‘One’, which has been used by Shahrukh in the movie’s title,” Kadam said.
Shahrukh’s lawyer, senior advocate Virendra Tulzapurkar, had said that his client’s script was completely different. Also, “Patnaik cannot claim copyright as he had developed his concept with a team of experts he had engaged,” Tulzapurkar argued.
Distributor Eros Entertainment’s lawyer, senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas, had said that Eros had acquired world distribution rights at Rs 150 crore and started transporting prints to theatres. No stay should be granted at the last moment, he said.
According to Patnaik, he had discussed the concept with ‘Ra.One’s script-writer, Mushtaq Sheikh, in 2006.
The judges, while adjourning the hearing for a later date, however remarked that “prima facie there has been a copyright violation”.