Days after the Malayalam film Shikkari Shambhu, starring actor Kunchacko Boban in the lead role, hit theatres across the country, the filmmakers have found themselves in a soup over allegations of copyright violations.
Objecting to the title of the film named after a character from one of their publications, Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) filed a petition against the film's producer and the production house Angel Maria Cinemas, with the Bombay High Court.
The character Shikari Shambhu was created and first appeared in Tinkle, an ACK publication, in the year 1983.
In the petition, ACK accused the film's producer SK Lawrence of infringing its Shikkari Shambhu trademark and passing it off as their own. The petition was filed days after the film was released on January 20.
A single bench of the Bombay HC disposed off the petition earlier this week, after the producer agreed to pay Rs 10 lakh to ACK. The filmmakers have been restrained from releasing part two of the film under the same name, and releasing the dubbed version of the film in any other language, in the same name.
After coming to know about the title of the upcoming Malayalam film, ACK issued a cease and desist notice to the producer on October 3, 2017. The producer reverted to the cease and desist notice and expressed willingness to obtain the licence for using the trademark.
As per ACK's petition to the court, a series of negotiations were carried out between the two parties between November and December 2017, in which, the producer is said to have said that the film would be released sometime between February and April 2018. While seeking to obtain the licence to use the trademark, the producer also shared a synopsis of the film with ACK, said the petition
Even as negotiations were underway, the film was released on January 20.
ACK in its petition alleged that the producer and his company had “total disregard" for the cease and desist notice issued by them last year, and the latter went ahead with the release of the film, despite objections raised by ACK.
“However, to the utter shock and surprise of the plaintiff, in spite of the repeated assurances of the Defendants that the impugned film was scheduled for released between February to April, 2018, the Defendants, In a complete shift in their conduct until this point and in blatant disregard of the Plaintiffs rights, clandestinely went ahead and released the impugned film on 20th January, 2018," Bar and Bench quoted from ACK's petition.