Producer Vikas Mohan has sent a legal notice to the director of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) and the I&B ministry for screening his film, 'Libaas', without his permission. The film, written and directed by Gulzar, was showcased at the ongoing fest in Goa on November 22 and is said to have been received well by the audience.
Shabana Azmi (left) and Naseeruddin Shah in Libaas
Mohan says, "Our lawyers have sent a legal notice to the IFFI management. We feel cheated. In spite of such strict copyright rules today, we have been completely baffled by this episode, especially since the IFFI did something like this."
The notice reads that even though the letter of authority was given to IFFI, it did not grant permission to screen the film after over 22 years of its first exhibition in 1991 without prior intimation to Mohan. It also states that subscription charges are demanded these days from attendees at film festivals, thus making the screening commercial which was not the purpose for which the letter of authority was granted.
Mohan adds that he had given a print of the film to festival authorities in 1991. He has now asked them to return the copy of his film apart from issuing a public apology.
Shabana Azmi, who stars in Libaas, rues, "Unfortunately, I wasn't even informed about it."
The producer says that he intends to release the film soon. "Its release got stuck 26 years ago though we were not at fault. At that time, two or three of Gulzar saab's films failed at the box office and distributors didn't want to release this one either. They had also demanded their money back but I had nothing to give then. I could pay them only after Arzoo released in 1999. But now the time for Libaas has come," he adds.