Bollywood producers’ war over film titles is not new, but the latest tiff between Pooja Bhatt and Vipul Shah, seems to have exposed a bigger issue — the lack of transparency in the functioning of the film associations with which makers register their film titles.
Shah’s upcoming flick with Akshay Kumar, Holiday — A Soldier Is Never Off Duty, has not gone down well with Pooja, who made a film of the same title (Holiday) in 2006.
“To make a film, you have to register your film’s title with one of these many associations and pay them every year to re-register your title.
I registered the name, Holiday with the Indian Film and TV Producers Council (IFTPC), and I had already made the film in 2006. Vipul (Shah), after facing rejection from IFTPC to use this title registered the same name with the Indian Motion Pictures’ Producers Association (IMPPA).
So then, what’s the point of me paying money every year to protect my title?” questions Pooja.
While some industry insiders call the title registration process a “money-making racket” others are astounded by the lack of accountability of the associations that are getting “paid” to protect their titles, and are yet not doing their job.
Trade analyst Atul Mohan agrees that the associations often do not co-ordinate with each other before approving a title.
“There is miscommunication, and due to these loopholes, producers end up in a feud over the same title,” explains Mohan. Another prominent filmmaker, on condition of anonymity shares, “It is a racket! If I apply for a title, I am not sure whether I will get it or not.”
Filmaker Mukesh Bhatt, president of Film and Television Producers Guild, feels that the solution lies in creating an open online registration process, while agreeing that producers hilding on to titles is the biggest issue.