What's in a name? Ask Viswrup Roy Choudhary. This little known producer had nearly got the title of Karan Johar's biggie, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna changed just before its release.
Viswrup is fighting a case against Dharma Productions over the words Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna as he calls himself the original holder of the title. On August 7, the court postponed the judgment till August 21, which means that irrespective of the ruling, KANK will be released as Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna this week.
As you can gather, there's a lot in a name. And filmmakers are ready to shell out a lot of money to retain a title, even if it means fighting for it in the court.
Tug of war: Disputes over the titles of the film are not rare in Bollywood. Actor-turned-director Deepak Tijori recently had to give up the title Raju Raja Ram, which he had registered with AMPTPP (Association of Motion Picture & TV Programme Producers).
That title has now gone to a Bhojpuri film. For his last film, Tom Dick and Harry, Tijori had to take legal action against Sohail Khan Production, which had also registered a similar title. And Pepsi tagline, Dil Maange More, had landed the makers of the film by the same name into trouble.
Creating confusion: As our filmmakers don't understand originality, we've such disputes often. But the confusion arises because there's more than one organisation registering names.
Besides the government body, Registrar Trademark of India, there are four private associations too—IMPA (Indian Motion Picture Producers Association), Film & TV Producers Guild of India Limited, AMPTPP and WIFPA (Western India Film Producer Association).
While Viswrup had registered his title with the Registrar Trademark of India, Johar had gone to IMPA. Says Choudhary, "I had registered with the government body while IMPA granted the same to Karan Johar. When I learnt about it, I informed Karan but he refused to do anything. Legal action was the only option left for me." Says Pawan Duggal, advocate, Supreme Court, "You are not entitled to any legal action if you go to these four associations, which is not the case if you to go Trademark of India.”
So, is there a solution? Feels Tijori, "Either there should be one organisation or all these associations should work in tandem." That doesn't seem to be happening.