In Potter versus Puttar, Hari is the whizkid | delhi | Hindustan Times
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In Potter versus Puttar, Hari is the whizkid

Teenage wizard Harry Potter may have once vanquished the powerful and wicked Lord Voldermort. But his magic broom could not save him in his battle with Hari Puttar, the Punjabi lad in faraway India, reports Harish V Nair.

delhi Updated: Sep 23, 2008 00:23 IST
Harish V Nair

Teenage wizard Harry Potter may have once vanquished the powerful and wicked Lord Voldermort. But his magic broom could not save him in his battle with Hari Puttar, the Punjabi lad in faraway India.

Delhi High Court on Monday cleared the decks for the release of comedy film Hari Puttar coming Friday by dismissing a petition filed by Potter creator Warner Bros. claiming the title of the Hindi film “infringed their intellectual property rights” as it sounded too similar to Harry Potter.

While denying any relief to Warner Bros., Justice Reva Khetrapal said while Harry Potter catered to an “elite and exclusive audience”, a large number of Hari Puttar’s viewers could be “illiterate or semi-literate” and so therefore there was no scope of confusion among film-goers. The judge also said in case of an educated person “he knows the difference between the chalk and cheese”.

“Puttar” in Punjabi means “son”, and the Indian film’s main character is a boy named Hari Prasad Dhoonda, whom his father refers to as Hari Puttar. The British creators had even refused Mumbai-based Mirchi movies offer of putting a disclaimer in the title sequence.

Shot in Yorkshire, Hari Puttar is the story of a 10-year-old boy fighting two criminals trying to steal a secret formula devised by the boy’s scientist father.

Directed by Rajesh Bajaj and Lucky Kohli, it also stars Jackie Shroff, Saurabh Shukla and Sarika. Mirchi movies had postponed the release of the movie pending the legal battle.

Rejecting the argument that phonetic similarity constituted copyright violation, Mirchi movie’s lawyer Arun Jaitley argued one needs to “look at the spelling, pronunciation, context, language and relevance of words in (the) language.”

Just “because somebody may mispronounce Hari Puttar as Harry Potter or even Jaikishan (a common Hindu name) as Jackson, that alone cannot be cause for legal action,” Jaitley said, who pointed out that the word puttar was used several times in Gurinder Chadha’s Bend It Like Beckham.