Shekhar Kapur on Mr. India Reboot: Must have the rights to remake of my work

Updated: Feb 27, 2020, 08:25 IST | Mohar Basu | Mumbai

Disappointed at being left in dark about the Mr. India Reboot, the director Shekar Kapur of the 1987 cult hit tells mid-day that he is seeking legal recourse to protect his 'creative rights'

Sridevi and Anil Kapoor in Mr. India
Sridevi and Anil Kapoor in Mr. India

Soon after mid-day broke the news that Ali Abbas Zafar will helm the reboot of Mr India (1987), there was a backlash from the makers of the original. Anil Kapoor's daughter Sonam K Ahuja even criticised the "underhanded" manner in which the remake was conceived of without the knowledge of the original film's leading man. Director Shekhar Kapur has now joined the chorus.

It is understandable that Kapur, the director of Bollywood's first sci-fi outing, is mighty displeased about the turn of events. When mid-day reached out to him, he said, "Where is the director's ownership on the material he has created? It [the reboot] is based on what I have created. Now, I am in touch with lawyers all over the world to [tackle] the issue. It's about creating a new understanding of creative authorship of the principal director of a film. [The model] is [followed] in many nations of the world, including Australia, and the US. As the director, I am the prime author of the movie. I must have rights to the future remake of the film created by me. This calls for a change in the constitutional copyright laws. This is not about Mr India anymore."

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Knowing all too well that a movie's rights rest with the producer in India, the director points out, "The poster reads Surinder Kapoor's Mr India produced by Boney Kapoor. His father was the original producer."

Shekhar Kapur and Boney KapoorShekhar Kapur and Boney Kapoor

Kapur informs that he had reached out to Boney as soon as the reboot to the Sridevi-starrer was announced. "[When I questioned him], he said nothing is set in stone. Anil was equally disturbed that he didn't know about it," he says, adding that Boney did not inform him about the alleged transfer of rights. Charting his next course of action, Kapur says, "It's time to have a serious legal discussion here to reinterpret the copyright act so that it accords authorship of a film to the principal director. This is not directed at Boney, or the current director, or Zee Studios. It is directed at the act itself."

Boney Kapoor declined to comment on the story.

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