Posted by Fenil Seta
Boney Kapoor, who has just won a 7-year plagiarism case against a writer who claimed he had written the original script, now plans a sequel
Sanyukta Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 11, 2017)
In 2009, a local court in Meerut booked producer-director Boney Kapoor, his wife Sridevi, filmmaker Prabu Dheva and actor Salman Khan in a case of alleged copyright infringement and plagiarism for their action-drama, Wanted.
Petitioner Birbal Singh Rana, a local writer-director, alleged that Kapoor’s production house, BSK Network and Entertainment, had stolen his original script, Raja Bhai IPS, for their film. Birbal, in his petition claimed, that he had submitted his copyright script to the company in 2004, but it was rejected and later re-created for their own project.
The Wanted team denied the allegations, but in August 2010 the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, B D Bharti, directed them to be present before the court on November 22. When they failed to appear, a non-bailable warrant was issued against them, after which Boney took matters into his own hands and decided to seek redemption from the Allahabad High Court.
Seven years later, Boney has won the case against Birbal Singh Rana. On Tuesday, the Allahabad High Court acquitted the 61-year-old-filmmaker of all charges. It was also revealed that Birbal had been blackmailing Boney, demanding an out-of-court settlement of Rs 75 lakh. “This kind of extortion is becoming a practice by miscreants who target high-profile celebrities. There is no copyright violation of the idea, subject matter, theme, plot or historical or legendary facts. The applicant (Boney and Co.) are innocent and have not committed the present offence,” stated the Additional Government Advocate, RD Yadav, ruling in favour of the filmmaker.
When Mirror caught up with Boney ahead of the Justin Bieber concert, which he was attending with wife Sridevi and daughter, Jhanvi, he pointed out that he was among the first Indian producers in Bollywood to bring in the concept of Hindi remakes of regional films. “I have legally bought the rights to and remade 16 films. In the case of Wanted, I not only bought the rights from Prabhu Dheva who had directed the Tamil version, and eventually the Hindi remake, but also from Puri Jagannadh, who was the original creator and producer of the 2006-Telugu film, Pokiri,” he informed. “I was shocked when I got the first summons, more so when the lower court in Meerut accused us of copyright infringement without proper verification of the script. The petitioner then started harassing and blackmailing us, trying to extort money for no fault of ours.”
He goes on to add that this has happened to various producers, directors and actors who have been dragged to court on false charges. “Sometimes it’s just plain mischief and sometimes there are ulterior motives involved. It is sad because there have been genuine cases of deceitful filmmakers who have copied portions from other films unofficially, while others said they were inspired and such cases went unchallenged,” he grouses.
Wanted went on to become the second highest grossing film of 2009, bagging Vijayan Master the Filmfare Award for Best Action. A year later, Boney had announced his desire to spin a sequel. Buzz is, leading man Salman had also asked Prabhu Dheva to come up with a script for Wanted 2. He had also revealed that Prakash Raj who had played the baddie in the Tamil and Hindi versions, would be a part of the sequel.
Ask Boney if the impending court case roadblocked Part 2 and he exclaims, “No way! I would never let a case like this hinder the sequel. I will roll with Wanted 2 whenever I have the right script for the film. It is very difficult to imagine Wanted 2 without Salman,” he signs off.