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HC allows conditional release of Rangoon in copyright case

Hearing a petition alleging copyright violation, the Bombay High Court allowed conditional release of Kangana Ranaut starer “Rangoon” by asking its producer Vishal Bhardwaj to submit a bank guarantee of Rs. 2 crore until the matter was finally disposed of.

The movie is slated for an all India release on Friday.

Film production company Nadia Movietone Pvt Ltd had filed a suit against Bhardwaj seeking a stay on “Rangoon” on the ground that the film had allegedly copied the script of their 1935 film “Hunterwali” in which Australian actress Mary Ann Evans had portrayed the role of fearless Nadia.

“Until the petition is finally disposed of, the makers of Rangoon are directed to deposit bank guarantee of Rs. 2 crore with the Registrar of the high court. This is without prejudice to anyone,” observed Justice K R Sriram.

The detailed order will be uploaded by February 27, said the judge.

Nadia Movietone argued that Bhardwajs film “Rangoon” had copied the character of Evans and also her dialogues which was being played by Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut. “Not only Ranaut had dressed like Evans but also had copied her catchphrase bloody hell”, its lawyer argued.

On the other hand, Bhardwaj’s lawyer Ravi Kadam denied that it was a case of copyright violation and added that the script was original and a result of hard work and research done by the film maker and his team since many years.

Kadam said “Rangoon” was based on information which is in public domain.

The lawyer argued that even if one assumes that Kangana’s role was inspired by yesteryear actress fearless Nadia it could not be labelled as a case of copyright infringement because Nadia was a real person and a historical figure.

“There cannot be a copyright claim to a historical event or a person,” Kadam argued.

He further argued that at the most in such a case an aggrieved party can stake claim to the concerned person’s rights.

The suit alleged copyright violation and plagiarism and should therefore be dismissed, he submitted.

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