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Ram Gopal Varma tells HC his 'Sholay' is different
16th Mar 2007 09.00 IST
The film, Ram Gopal Varma Ki Sholay , a namesake of 1970's blockbuster Sholay , was an original work and in no way violates the trademark law, its producer told the Delhi High Court on Thursday.
Ram Gopal Varma , the maker of the new film featuring mega superstar Amitabh Bachchan in a role of "Gabbar" (in picture), the popular character of Sholay, opposed the lawsuit filed by Sascha Sippy, grandson of G.P. Sippy , the producer of the film which in 1970s created many records.
Varma, whose latest film Nishabd , which also had to pass the test of copyright case, contended that Sascha Sippy's case could at best be of proprietorship and in no way could be considered a case of trademark infringement.
"He (Sascha) was not the proprietor of film ‘Sholay’ and it cannot be a trademark case," senior advocate Ravi Kadam, appearing for Varma submitted before Justice, Gita Mital.
Sascha Sippy, who claims to be the copyright holder of ‘Sholay’, accused Varma, the maker of popular films like Shool , Rangeela , Satya , Company etc, of infringing trademark on the title of the film and its popular character ‘Gabbar’ played by Amjad Khan.
Kadam said Sascha was no longer the owner of the film as he cannot become the proprietor of the film automatically after the death of second partner of the firm Sippy Films.
The senior advocate said that the firm stood dissolved in September 1997 after the death of partner.
He claimed that Varma's ‘Sholay’ was completely different from the Sippy's blockbuster and in no way was a case of trademark infringement as the 1975 film was not registered.
However, senior advocate Satish Chandra, counsel for Sascha Sippy, refuted the allegation that he was not the proprietor of the film ‘Sholay’.
Terming the plea as misconceived, the counsel further said that under common law he becomes the proprietor of those marks (trademark), which have acquired reputation like ‘Sholay’ and Gabbar Singh.
The suit filed by Sippy Films Pvt. Ltd., and Sholay Media and Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., 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 trademark and copyrights.
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.
The suit was filed after it was reported that Varma 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 that the script and screenplay of ‘Sholay’ are the original literary works, protected under Sections 14 and 51 of the Copyright Act of 1957.
Ram Gopal Varma Ki Sholay
Ram Gopal Varma
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