For Anurag Basu’s upcoming film Barfi!, the months leading up to its release were pretty much devoid of any controversy. Until now. Turns out Mumbai-based company Murphy Enterprises has sent a legal notice to the producers of the film UTV Motion Pictures and Ishana Films dated September 10, 2012 for infringing the copyrights of their registered trademarks without obtaining a NOC.
Murphy Enterprises was behind the iconic Murphy radios of the post-Independence era. In the notice, they have claimed that the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer film has used ‘Murphy’, ‘Murphy Radio’ and ‘Murphy Munna’ in the title song as well as in the film without any written permission. They have also added that if the notice is not taken seriously, the company will be filing a legal suit against the producers, thus bringing a stay on the film’s release.
Surjeet Kurup, the lawyer representing the company, feels that the title song of the film is not only a violation of copyright but shows the company in a bad way. “In the song Ala Barfi, the brand Murphy Radio is unambiguously mentioned and perceivably in a negative light. It appears that the story line revolves round the theme that the lady desires for a baby like Murphy Munna which is also registered trademark with us,” he says.
He adds, “UTV Motion Pictures have done this blatantly without taking consent from the owners of this brand. It has annoyed the brand owners. We have issued a notice to the violators and are intending to proceed to file a suit for injunction and damages for Rs 50 crore.” UTV maintains innocence. “We are clear that there has been no infringement whatsoever and we are in the process of sending a response to the notice,” their spokesperson sums up.
Interestingly, Ranbir’s character is named Murphy but he is addressed as Barfi by all around him. Apparently, the lyrics of the title song suggests that Murphy’s mother desires to have a kid like ‘Murphy munna’. According to the notice, the mother dies as soon as Murphy Radio is put on and the kid is named so, in her memory.