Fearless Nadia's character not original, argues Vishal Bhardwaj in 'Rangoon' copyright case

Feb 23, 2017, 08:02 IST | Vinay Dalvi

Kangana Ranaut and Fearless Nadia
Kangana Ranaut and Fearless Nadia

During the first hearing in the ongoing Rangoon vs Wadia Movietone case in the Bombay High Court, the latter claimed to have shared a script with Vishal Bhardwaj in 2006, but the filmmaker returned it 13 months later, saying he wasn't considering making a film of it. When it was the Rangoon makers' turn to argue their case yesterday, they denied receiving any such script, thereby dismissing copyright infringement charges.

Bhardwaj's counsel, Virendra Saraf, said the Rangoon director used publicly available information to make the film. Bhardwaj also claimed that Fearless Nadia was just a screen name like Dream Girl or Dilip Kumar, not a fictional character like Superman, Godzilla or James Bond that could be copied.

Dream Girl Hema Malini
Dream Girl Hema Malini

"Character copyright is not sustainable as per Indian Copyright Right Law. So if we consider Fearless Nadia as a character, it can't be a fit case under copyright law anyway," said Saraf, arguing before justice KR Shriram in Bombay High Court. "Nadia was an adopted name by Mary Evans much before Hunterwali (1935) came out. She added 'Fearless' later since she performed stunts on her own.

It's not a fictional name like James Bond. Besides, six competitors of Wadia Movietone had used her name to make movies, but Wadias had not objected then," said counsel Ravi Kadam arguing on behalf of Bhardwaj and producers Viacom 18.

'Fearless Nadia not original'
Kadam also pointed out that Fearless Nadia's character itself was copied from Zorro and Pearl White. He also claimed there could be parallels between Hunterwali and Rangoon's trailer, but none with Wadia's script, which was handed to UTV and not him directly. Eventually, he made Rangoon with help of an American scriptwriter on the same topic with research on stunt women from World War II era.

Hearing today With Roy Wadia, CEO of Wadia Movietone, asking for injunction on the release due tomorrow, the judge will sit for the hearing at 10 am, possibly to pass the verdict.

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