It’s no secret that Bollywood shamelessly copies storylines, stunts, scenes, and many other elements of a film from foreign or southern movies. Most producers escape such copyright infringements, but some others have not been so lucky. For example, Rakesh Roshan’s Koi…Mil Gaya got away with a lawsuit from Amblin Entertainment, the studio that created Steven Spielberg‘s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, of which it was a blatant rip-off. But the Salman Khan-starrer Partner was sued by the producers of the Will Smith-starrer Hitch. In honor of World Copyright Day, here are nine movies that were taken to court over copyright issues:
Not only did the producers of Hitch, but Will Smith’s production house and Sony Pictures Entertainment charged Eros and K Sera Sera, the producers of Partner, for copying their movie through and through. This was probably one of the first instances of legal action against plagiarism in Bollywood. Eventually, Sony acquired the global exclusive satellite broadcasting rights of Partner.
Madhur Bhandarkar was under the scanner when writer Seema Seth accused him of copying the storyline of his movie from her book El Dorado, which was published three months before the release of the film. She issued a legal notice to Bhandarkar for the same. However, the case was later dismissed when Seth repeatedly did not appear in the court.
The plot of the film was copied from the Hollywood movie Phone Booth, whose makers filed a case against the makers of Knock Out. The court ordered a compensation of INR 12.5 millions to be paid to the makers of Phone Booth.
Om Shanti Om
Scriptwriter Ajay Monga accused Shah Rukh Khan and Farah Khan of stealing the idea and plot of the film from a script he had emailed to SRK, two years prior. He was followed by the late filmmaker Bimal Roy‘s daughter Rinki Bhattacharya, who threatened legal action against Red Chillies Entertainment and the makers of Om Shanti Om for stealing their second half from her father’s movie, Madhumati.
David Dhawan may have gotten away with many copyright suits, but his son wasn’t as successful. Director Shyam Devkatte filed a petition against Rohit Dhawan for his debut film, alleging that he had registered the film of the same name, a year before the release of the John and Akshay starrer. But the court stated that titles were not shielded under the copyright banner, and thus there was no case of infringement here.
Once again, Shah Rukh Khan was accused of plagiarism and this time it was for his superhero flick. Writer Yash Patnaik claimed to have written the script of a film titled One, which he had discussed with the scriptwriter of Ra.One, Mushtaq Sheikh. Eventually, SRK’s company deposited a sum of INR 10 millions as compensation.
Ladies vs Ricky Bahl
The first blow came from celebrated writer Jeffrey Archer, who claimed that the movie was inspired by his book Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less, with no credits given to him. Additionally South Indian director Selva felt that some scenes in the movie were copied from his film series Naan Avan Illai, but failed to prove the same in court.
Mahesh Bhatt was accused of stealing the script of his film by writer Kapil Chopra, who had sent it to Bhatt in the past. Chopra took the makers of the film to court, that asked the Bhatts to pay a compensation of INR 1 million.
Yash Raj Films and Aditya Chopra claimed that the South Indian movie Jabardast was an exact copy of the Ranveer and Anushka starrer Band Baaja Baaraat. Naturally, YRF saw this as a money-making opportunity and filed legal action for the alleged plagiarism. The court finally agreed to put a halt to the release of the film, as per Aditya Chopra’s request.