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Court allows release of Bhoothnath Returns, rejects plagiarism plea

  | April 04, 2014 20:47 IST (New Delhi)
Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchan in a still from Bhoothnath Returns

Bollywood movie Bhoothnath Returns, starring Amitabh Bachchan, will hit theatres on April 11 as per schedule as the Delhi High Court today refused to stay its release.

Bollywood movie Bhoothnath Returns, starring Amitabh Bachchan, will hit theatres on April 11 as per schedule as the Delhi High Court today refused to stay its release and rejected an interim plea of a Hindi writer that the film was copied from his literary work.
Justice A K Pathak asked the producers and others to file their response to the lawsuit of Sushant Supriya, Hindi short story writer and poet, within four weeks. The court, however, rejected the interim application of the author that the release of the movie be stalled otherwise he would face irreparable injury.
The court perused, analysed and compared the brief synopsis of the script of the film and the trailer with the story Bhootnath written by Supriya in 2007. "Their perusal shows that there may be some semblance between the petitioner's story and the film as they both relate to ghosts, but there are no substantial similarities between the two," the court said.
Bhoothnath Returns is a sequel to the 2008 movie Bhoothnath, a ghost-based film whose shooting had started in 2006 and the story of Supriya was published in 2007, it said. The court, however, made clear that its views were not final and listed the case for hearing on July 7.
During the hearing, senior advocate Pratibha Maninder Singh, appearing for the author, referred to nine expressions from the trailer of the movie and said they have been copied from short story Bhootnath of the writer published in 2007 in the Hindi magazine Aaj Kal. The lawyer said Bhoothnath Returns is not the sequel to earlier movie Bhoothnath.
Earlier, a larger bench had first asked the writer and the other parties to try to settle the dispute and later said that the single judge bench would decide the issue.
The petition had sought a direction from the court that the producers be prevented from the "screening trailer" and releasing the "infringing" film in theatres.
The petition said, "Unlike most sequels, the infringing film is based on an entirely new storyline from the first Bhoothnath film, and has no relationship with the first film, especially in terms of the supporting cast.
"Even the central character of the infringing film has no relationship with the central character of the first Bhoothnath film. This demonstrates that the infringing film has appropriated the plaintiff's original literary work."
It said, "An order for permanent injunction restraining the defendants, their partners or proprietor, from infringing the copyright of the plaintiff in the literary character Bhootnath, from screening the trailer of the film Bhoothnath Returns or releasing the film or parting with the satellite or DVD or internet rights for the film" be passed.
Bhoothnath Returns, directed by Nitesh Tiwari, is a horror comedy film and is a sequel to the 2008 flick Bhoothnath. The film has been produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Ravi Chopra and co-produced by Ajay Kapoor. Besides Mr Bachchan, Boman Irani and Shahrukh Khan are in supporting roles. The film also has a cameo appearance by Ranbir Kapoor.

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