Aamir’s ‘Ghajini’ gets courts’ nod for release (Intro Roundup)

December 24th, 2008 - 9:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Aamir KhanChennai/Mumbai, Dec 24 (IANS) Aamir Khan-starrer “Ghajini”, Bollywood’s big-ticket release this season, will finally hit the screens Thursday, after two high courts Wednesday cleared its release.While Aamir Khan’s hair cut, eight-pack abs and promos have raised high expectations from “Ghajini”, a revenge saga that has been hit in its previous Tamil and Telugu versions, the film has been embroiled in litigation since February.

While a Bollywood producer went to the Bombay High Court complaining the film’s director had broken a contract with them, the producers of its earlier Tamil version approached the Chennai court alleging violation of intellectual copyrights.

Justice S.B. Karnik of the Bombay High Court said the film can be released as scheduled but also asked director A.R. Murugadoss to file an affidavit Friday clearing his stand.

Mumbai firm KBC Pictures in its complaint said Murugadoss had signed an agreement with it in 2004 for re-making the hit Tamil film in Hindi. Thus, the company claimed, the Hindi film was in violation of their contract.

The director’s lawyer Venkatesh Dhond said: “The court has refused to stay the release of the film. The final hearing will be on Friday but for now the court has no objection to its release.”

Later in the day, a Madras High Court division bench of Justices V. Dhanapalan and N. Satyanarayanan Wednesday evening allowed the release.

Justice P.R. Shivakumar of the same court had Tuesday stayed the Hindi film’s release after A. Chandrasekaran, the producer of the original Tamil film of the same name, filed a suit alleging that the producers of the Hindi remake had “fabricated documents to claim ownership over the remake rights”.

The Tamil film’s producer has been awarded a total compensation of Rs.50 million, his senior counsel A.L.R. Sundaresan told IANS.

“The court ordered that Rs.3 crore (Rs.30 million) should be deposited with it today (Wednesday) and the balance before Dec 30,” he said.

According to sources close to Chandrasekaran, the court had asked his side to consider a compensation of Rs.30 million and come forward with other suggestions to facilitate the release, but negotiations had broken down before the judges took a breather.

“The other side refused to negotiate,” Sundaresan said.

Legal sources indicated on condition of anonymity that it could take over a year for the conclusion of the matter.

Charges are to be framed against the Hindi version’s producers Allu Aravind, Madhu Mantena and two others on Dec 31, according to Chandrasekaran.

Troubles for the Hindi version of “Ghajini” began in February when a criminal case of cheating was filed in a court in Salem, Chandrasekaran’s hometown.

In April, a writ petition was filed in the Madras High Court and had dragged on till Tuesday.

Frenetic negotiations were on since Tuesday night between the two sides.

Earlier Wednesday, negotiations for a settlement between the producers of the Tamil and Hindi versions - Chandrasekaran and Geetha Arts respectively - had broken down.

Praveen Trikha, regional head (north) of Studio 18 that is distributing the film in India, had predicted to IANS Tuesday night in New Delhi: “The stay will be vacated by tomorrow (Wednesday).”

The general manager of a Chennai multiplex told IANS requesting anonymity that the entire filmdom was trying to get the two sides to sort out differences and allow the movie’s “peaceful release” because a failure to do so would result in “worldwide losses running into over Rs.2 billion”.

Film industry circles said that at least Rs.1.2 billion went into the making of the film.

Mumbai reports said earlier that Rs.140 million had been spent on the Hindi version’s publicity alone.

The Tamil film’s concept is based on an English movie, “Memento” (2000), directed by Christopher Nolan and adapted from his Jonathan Nolan’s short story, “Memento Mori”.

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