Mary Evans as Fearless Nadia and Kangana Ranaut in her character at a promotional event
Mary Evans as Fearless Nadia and Kangana Ranaut in her character at a promotional event

The Bombay High Court yesterday ordered conditional release of Vishal Bhardwaj's Rangoon, which is embroiled in a copyright infringement case over alleged similarities between Kangana Ranaut's character and Fearless Nadia from Wadia Movietone's 1935 film, Hunterwali. The court asked the makers to deposit Rs 2 crore as bank guarantee till the final suit is decided.

"I am ruling in favour of plaintiff (Wadia Movietone). But if you agree to deposit Rs 2 crore as bank guarantee, I will allow the release of the movie on Friday," said Justice KR Shriram, while asking the producers to pay 10 per cent annual interest on the amount till a conclusion is reached.

Roy Wadia
Roy Wadia

Interestingly, before the order was passed, Bhardwaj and his lawyers had slotted an appeal before a two-judge bench in the second half of Thursday, fearing an injunction on the release.

Rangoon ran into trouble after Wadia scion Roy Wadia filed a copyright infringement suit in the High Court. His counsels, Navroz Seervai and Priyanka Khimani, said he'd shared the script of Hunterwali featuring Mary Evans as Fearless Nadia with Bhardwaj and UTV, but they backed out 13 months later.

mid-day's reports on the case
mid-day's reports on the case

Bhardwaj claimed the script wasn't shared directly with him and argued that Fearless Nadia was just a screen name, like Dream Girl (what Hema Malini is known as).

Speaking to mid-day post hearing, Roy said, "I would like to thank all those who supported Wadia Movietone, my family and our cause. The important thing is that we — a small entity, an archive really which is all that remains of a once mighty studio — took on a significant filmmaker and studio, and in doing so, boosted the cause of justice, just like Fearless Nadia did in my grandfather's films.

I can now sleep well knowing we did all that we could to honour my family's memory and legacy. I do not wish Vishal Bhardwaj or anyone else associated with the film Rangoon any ill. I just wish they had acted in a genuine spirit of collaboration and acknowledgment."