Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gajini Stays out

MUMBAI: In more uncertainty for Aamir Khan-starrer Ghajini, the Madras high court on Tuesday stalled the much-anticipated release across India, 
passing an order restraining the producer of the film from allowing it to hit the screens on Christmas. 

The order was passed by Justice P R Shivkumar on an application by A Chandrasekaran of Sri Saravana Creations, the producers of the Tamil version of the movie. 

"The order restrains the producers from releasing the movie in any other language, including Hindi,'' said advocate G Ananthrangam, counsel for the Tamil producer. The application names Geetha Arts of Allu Arvind, producers of the Hindi version as one of the parties. 

Arvind confirmed with TOI that there was a stay on the release of the film. "We are exploring all legal options against the order to facilitate the release of the film on time,'' said Arvind, adding that an appeal had already been filed challenging the Madras HC order. 

Arvind said the appeal was scheduled to be heard by a vacation bench of the high court on Wednesday. 

Sources said the producers might find it difficult to stop the release of the movie. "Overseas prints of the movie were despatched on Monday and even the domestic prints have reached the exhibitors. It will be difficult for the producers to stop the screening of the film in keeping with the orders,'' said a source. 

Chandrasekaran has a long-standing dispute with A R Murugadoss, the writer and director of Ghajini. Following a criminal complaint (pertaining to forgery) in Salem, Murugadoss was even arrested by the Tamil Nadu police. 

"Our client has the copyright in Tamil and has not given the rights to anyone else, except for a Telugu remake,'' said the lawyer. The producers had alleged that Murugadoss forged the documents to give away the remake rights in other languages. 

While the appeal was scheduled to be heard on Wednesday, the makers of the Hindi version would also have to wage a legal battle in the Bombay high court. 

As TOI had reported in its December 23, 2008, edition, a suit had been filed by KBC Pictures alleging copyright 

infringement. KBC claimed to have the remake rights in Hindi and had sought a stay on the release of the movie. The case was scheduled to come up before the vacation bench of Justice D G Karnik. 

Trade analysts said advance booking began on Sunday and the response was "extra-ordinary''. An exhibitor said it was equivalent to that of Dhoom 2. 

Ranjan Singh, vice-president (marketing) of PVR Pictures, which was distributing the film in two territories, said, "All paid previews have been sold out and there is a demand for more shows. The advance booking for Thursday is extra-ordinary."

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