Producers of the Hindi-version of ‘Ghajini’ starring Aamir Khan got a vital breather on Wednesday, with the Madras High Court clearing the decks for the film’s release on Christmas day on Thursday as scheduled.
A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Mr. Justice V. Danabalan and Mr. Justice M. Sathyanarayanan, on an appeal by the Chennai-based producer, Geetha Arts Division of Allu Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., allowed the film to be released tomorrow but subject to certain conditions.
This was made possible after the Bench suspended the operation of the interim injunction granted against the film’s release by a single Judge, Mr. Justice P.R. Shivakumar yesterday, on a civil suit filed by the producer of ‘Ghajini’s’ original Tamil version, Mr. A. Chandrasekharan, Proprietor, Sri Saravana Creations, Chennai.
Barely within 24 hours of the interim injunction against the release of the Hindi version of ‘Ghajini’, its producers appealed against the single Judge’s order before the Division Bench today. Mr. Chandrasekharan had filed the suit seeking permanent injunction as the respondents had infringed upon his copyrights.
The Bench said that the producers of the Hindi version should deposit Rs. Five Crores with the Court Registry to enable the film to be released tomorrow. However, on a plea by the counsel for the producer of the film’s Hindi version, the Division Bench modified its order directing them to deposit Rs. Three cores now with the Court Registry through a Demand Draft (DD).
The Bench granted a week’s time to the producers to deposit the remaining Rs. Two Crores to the Court Registry, failing which the producer of the original Tamil version could make a mention before the Court on Dec 30 for further action, against the producers of ‘Ghajini’ Hindi version.
While the Hindi version’s producers paid up Rs. Three crores to the Court Registry, complying with the Division Bench’s orders, two others cited as respondents alongside ‘Geetha Arts’ are Mr. AR. Murugadoss and M/s AD Lab Films Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai.
When counsels for the Tamil version’s producer Mr. A. Chandrasekharan sought to know what next if the Hindi version producers failed to deposit the remaining amount by Dec 30, the Judges observed that in the event of any default they could mention it in the Court that day. Thereupon, the Division Bench posted the main case for hearings on the copyright infringement issue, to January 6, 2009.
Earlier in the day when the appeal came up, the Judges asked both the parties, producers of the Tamil and Hindi versions, to meet, discuss and “sort out the issue” and inform the Court on its outcome. The Bench then took up the matter after lunch, heard both the parties again before clearing the decks for the release of ‘Ghajini’ tomorrow.
In his original affidavit, Mr. Chandrasekharan had contended that the respondents cited above “did not have any right to produce the film in Hindi”. Stating that he was “shocked” to know that the respondents could even think of re-making his original Tamil film in Hindi without his consent, the applicant said they should be restrained from infringing on the copyrights he held for ‘Ghajini’.