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Courting trouble

The Hollywood studio major, Twentieth Century Fox, has reportedly filed a case against UTV in the Delhi High Court for making a film, Johnny Mastana, based on Manoj Night Shyamalan’s script, Labour of Love. Hiren Kotwani tells more.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2008 20:18 IST
Hiren Kotwani

The Hollywood studio major, Twentieth Century Fox, has reportedly filed a case against UTV in the Delhi High Court for making a film, Johnny Mastana, based on Manoj Night Shyamalan’s script, Labour of Love.

Fox which had acquired the rights to the script from Shyamalan pointed out the similarities between Labour of Love and the Shoojit Sircar-directed film toplining Amitabh Bachchan in court. They applied for an injunction against UTV. It is learnt that now, till January 31, 2009, UTV can’t proceed with any work on the movie.

Shyamalan’s Labour of Love revolves around Maurice Parker who walks across the US, from east to west, to prove his love for his dead wife Ellen. Sircar’s Johnny walks across India, to prove his love for his wife. The makers of the desi version would rather keep Johnny’s ailing wife alive.

Meanwhile, the legal tussle between UTV and Percept Picture Company continues. PPC had filed the case in July this year because Sircar was first making the film for them.

Shailendra Singh, CEO, PPPC, had said, “Things didn’t work out with Shoojit and we parted ways. But we still hold the rights to his script. So it was shocking that he took the same script to UTV.”

Delayed
An injunction was issued against UTV even earlier following PPC’s claim. The corporate production house had managed to get interim relief in September for two months. Fifty per cent of the shooting has been completed and Sircar was hoping to wrap it up by the end of the year. But then Bachchan fell ill and is currently recuperating. He won’t be back on the sets for a couple of weeks.

Ram Mirchandani of UTV replied via text message saying, “The court has refused to pass an injunction. Tnext hearing is January 14. We are free to continue shooting the film in keeping with its pre-determined schedule.”