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SC refuses to lift stay on release of 'Jhund' in copyrights case

SC refuses to lift stay on release of Jhund in copyrights case
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The Supreme Court refused to lift the stay on the release of Amitabh Bachchan starrer 'Jhund' and dismissed an appeal against the Telangana High Court order, which had stalled the movie's screening over copyright row.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian dismissed the appeal filed by petitioner 'Super Cassettes Industries' ('T Series') against the October 19 order of the high court, which had refused to interfere with the trial court order restraining the release of the movie.

"The special leave petitions are dismissed. As a sequel to the above, pending interlocutory applications, if any, stand disposed of," the bench said in its order.

The film, based on the life of Vijay Barse, the founder of NGO 'Slum Soccer', was scheduled to be released this month on OTT platform 'Amazon Prime Video'. The film was earlier scheduled to be released in May but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it did not hit the screens. Hyderabad-based short-film maker Nandi Chinni Kumar alleged copyright infringement against the filmmakers who refuted the allegation.

During the hearing, the apex court observed that it is an interesting case and it would direct that the trial will be completed within six months. Counsel appearing for the filmmaker said that the movie would be useless in six months and they were willing to pay the person in question.

He said that amount of Rs 1.3 crore was agreed between the parties, but they did not adhere to the agreement. Senior advocate P S Narasimha, appearing for Kumar and others said that the court may direct for disposal of the case which is pending in the trial court within six months. A trial court in Telangana had on September 17 stayed the release of the movie till the conclusion of the case. The decision of the trial court was upheld by the High Court on October 19.

'Super Cassettes' said in their petition filed in the top court that they invested a significant amount in production, distribution, marketing and promotion and also created third party rights on the film.

"A cinematograph film is a perishable commodity and halting of the complex process that leads up to the release of the film at such a belated stage could prove to be fiscally ruinous for the petitioner and make the entire project financially unviable," the plea said.

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