Karnal-born script writer wins case against Kunal Kohli

  • Vishal Joshi, Hindustan Times, Karnal
  • Updated: Jul 22, 2015 09:26 IST

Karnal-born script-writer Jyoti Kapoor has won a case of copyright violation and breach of confidence against noted film maker Kunal Kohli.

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that there were similarities between the storyline of Kohli's film 'Phir Se' and Kapoor's script titled 'RSVP'.

The apex court ordered that Kohli pay Kapoor a compensation of `25 lakh and give her credit for the film story.

Kapoor told Hindustan Times from Mumbai on Tuesday that the court's ruling had come as a moral and legal victory against plagiarism which was rampant in the Indian entertainment industry.

"After an eight-month legal fight, I finally had a sigh of relief on Monday as my claim was proved correct in the highest court of law in the country. Though I am satisfied with the ruling, the entire development was painful. The glamorous film industry has hardly any respectable space for writers," said Kapoor, an alumnus of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune.

Former journalist Kapoor (36), who had scripted Yash Raj studio's 'Dawat-e-Ishaq' with Aditya Roy Kapur and Parineeti Chopra in the lead roles, said that she was endlessly receiving congratulatory notes from friends and mediapersons.

Kapoor said that after her agent had e-mailed script to Kohli, he met her to discuss fees and writer credit issues.

As Kohli reportedly wanted to buy the script without giving any credit to her, the deal did not materialise.

Later, another producer selected the same script from Kapoor.

In the meantime, promos of Kohli's film began to appear in the media and Kapoor sensed that her story idea was being used without her knowledge.

Subsequently, she filed a complaint with the Film Writers Association (FAW) and then approached the Bombay high court demanding justice which ordered a stay on the release of Kohli's film. However, Kohli challenged the order and another bench of the high court vacated the stay on the film.

Finally, Kapoor had to approach the SC as the final resort against Kohli's project.

Besides her husband Harsh Wardhan, Kapoor said her parents, who reside at Sector 13 here, and her colleagues in the industry extended their moral support to pursue the legal battle against the film maker.

"Majority of my supporters were film writers as they have witnessed several cases where story ideas are lifted without acknowledging the writers. In the Hindi film industry, writers' fraternity has to fight to get its credit on the screen. Remuneration is another issue for which a writer always remains at the receiving end," she said.

Kapoor urged budding writers to be extra cautious while sharing their ideas with any film maker.

"It is very important to register your idea and story with the Film Writers Association to counter copyright violations. In this case too, I was able prove my point in the SC largely as my story was registered with the association," she said.

She rued that writers were not given their due in the Indian film industry while actors and directors take away all attention.

"Only a few voices like noted writer-poet Javed Akhtar are heard in support of writers and they strongly advocate royalty to story writers," she said.

Kapoor has also written the stories for children's film 'Kaccha Limbu' and TV serial 'Left, right, left'.

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