Yes, we have received the notice. Our lawyers are handling it. But the similarity ends where it begins,” says Sohail Maklai, the producer of the forthcoming film, Knock Out. 20th Century Fox has sent him a notice because they feel the Sanjay Dutt-Irrfan Khan movie borrows from their Collin Farrell-thriller, Phone Booth. This is the second film to be sent a notice on the grounds of copyright infringement recently. Last week, Warner Bros demanded to see John Abraham-starrer Jhootha Hi Sahi to ascertain if it has been ripped off from their television series, Friends. Both films open in cinemas on October 15.
Unlike the romcom, directed by Abbas Tyrewalla, Knock Out has been termed as Mani Shankar’s desi Phone Booth ever since it began. Reportedly, Irrfan Khan plays an investment banker who is trapped in a phone booth by a sniper. Farrell’s character too had no choice but to obey a sniper, played by Keifer Sutherland.
A little over a month ago, Subhash Ghai had an out-of-court settlement with Fox Studios, which reportedly claimed that Ghai’s production, Hello Darling, was copied from their Nine To Five. Officials at Fox’s Indian office refused to comment. Reiterating his stand, Maklai says that Knock Out is about India’s stolen wealth. “The essence of the film is that India is made poorer by greedy politicians and bureaucrats who stash their black money abroad. Knock Out is about restoring national wealth by a counter-heist implemented by a brilliant vigilante played by Sanjay Dutt,” he insists.
Maklai says that he will screen Knock Out for Fox representatives as soon as the first copy is out. But producer of Jhootha Hi Sahi, Madhu Mantena denies arranging for a screening of the movie for Warner Bros representatives on October 10 at Pixion, Bandra. “I’ve no intention of showing it to Warner. It has nothing to do with Friends,” he asserts, adding that it’s second in Tyrewala’s trilogy on friends and love. “His first film, Jaane Tu.. Ya Jaane Naa was a love story, and revolved around a group of friends. Jhootha Hi Sahi is as much a remake of Friends as Jaane Tu..”