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RGV's Sholay hits legal roadblock

October 19, 2006 21:51 IST
Film maker Ram Gopal Varma's bid to make a remake of the 1970s blockbuster Sholay has run into rough weather with the Delhi High Court restraining its release.

The roadblocks for the release of the film in which superstar Amitabh Bachchan has assumed the roll of 'Gabbar Singh' came recently on a lawsuit filed by the grandson of G P Sippy, who had produced Sholay.

The suit filed by Sippy Films Private Limited and Sholay Media and Entertainment Private Limited, owned by Sascha Sippy and Shan Uttam Singh had sought stay on the release of Varma's film maintaining the use of the name Sholay by any other entity amounts to infringement of trade mark and copyright.

In the suit filed through the law firm Anand and Anand, they contended that they also have copyright on the use of character 'Gabbar Singh,' which was played by late Amjad Khan in Sholay. Sascha Sippy, director of the Sippy Films, claimed that the late G P Sippy's son Ajit Sippy who reportedly sold the copyrights to Varma, had no such rights himself to transfer the same to others.

Besides Varma, Justice Gita Mittal issued notices to his production house K Sera Sera, its managing director, P M Sanghvi and Ajit Sippy. The suit was filed after it was reported that Verma had began shooting film titled -- Ram Gopal Varma Ki Sholay.

The suit said the use of names -- Sholay and Gabbar Singh -- by Varma also amounts to infringement of moral right as there was threat to destruction of original work. He submitted the script and screenplay of Sholay are the original literary works, protected under Sections 14 and 51 of the Copyright Act of 1957.

Reacting to the notice issued by the court, Varma said he had no intention of infringing any copyright in his remake of the 1970 blockbuster.

"In the way I am making my film, I am not infringing any copyright nor do I intend to," Varma told PTI in Mumbai. He, however, refused to comment further, saying that his defence will be placed before the court in the course of arguments.
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