Ahead of release, 'Mohanlal' makers sued by Malayalam director for copyright violation

As Sajid Yahiya’s 'Mohanlal' gears up for release on April 13, director Kalavoor Ravikumar has moved court against the makers.
Ahead of release, 'Mohanlal' makers sued by Malayalam director for copyright violation
Ahead of release, 'Mohanlal' makers sued by Malayalam director for copyright violation
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With just weeks left for the much-awaited Malayalam film Mohanlal to hit theatres, the film seems to be caught up in an unpleasant controversy.

Scriptwriter and director Kalavoor Ravikumar has moved a court in Thrissur seeking a stay on the release of the film. He has alleged that the makers of the film have lifted his short story without his consent and has filed an injunction suite under section 54 of the Copyright Act.

According to Ravikumar, director Sajid Yahiya’s film Mohanlal is based on his 2005 short story Mohanlaline Enikkippo Bhayankara Pediyanu (I am terribly scared of Mohanlal).

Ravikumar has now moved the court after raising a complaint with the Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) in August 2016. Speaking to TNM, Ravikumar said that while FEFKA had intervened and directed the filmmakers to give him remuneration and due credit, the filmmakers have not obliged to the terms.

“I have heard from sources that they are going to give me a ‘courtesy’ and not due credit for taking my story. How is that acceptable? You cannot lift somebody else’s work like this. And why would they ‘thank’ me? I am asking for acknowledgement for my work,” Ravikumar argued.

According to Ravikumar’s lawyer Prashanth, they have moved the court to stall the release of the film. In case the makers release the film violating the orders, Ravikumar has sought 25% of the profit from the film and an additional compensation amount.

When TNM reached out to Sajid Yahiya, he denied outright that the film was based on Ravikumar’s short story. He also refuted Ravikumar’s version that FEFKA had directed the filmmakers to give Ravikumar due credit.

“He raised objection to our film way before we made an official announcement. When he approached FEFKA, they urged us to solve this amicably. We maintained that our film is not based on his short story. Our concept is star worship and it is a universal concept. We offered to let Ravikumar read the script, but he has refused to do so,” Sajid said.

According to Sajid, FEFKA asked them to give a “special thanks” to Ravikumar in the credit rolls of the film. However, with Ravikumar approaching the court just days before the film’s release, Sajid sees it as a pressure-building mechanism.

“He thinks that since I am a new director, he can pressurise and make me pay money to him. That’s not going to happen. Why should we pay him or give credit when we haven’t taken his story? I could have got my inspiration from anywhere!” he said.

Sajid also accused Ravikumar of trying to convince the film’s lead actors Manju Warrier and Indrajith to drop out of them film.

The court has directed the makers of Mohanlal to appear before it on April 5. Sajid said that the crew will submit the script of the film and that the film will be released as per schedule.

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