Title trouble for Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Ram Leela'

Jan 26, 2013, 04:03 IST | Kunal M Shah

Filmmaker Mukul Abhyankar's constant pleas and subsequent legal notice for apparent theft of his film's title go unheeded

Close on the heels of the first look of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming film releasing, once again the Ranveer Singh-Deepika Padukone project is mired in controversy. Buzz is that the title of the film Ram Leela is not under SLB’s possession, but is in fact owned by filmmaker Mukul Abhyankar.

Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, Ram Leela

Despite repeated reminders from Abhyankar, Bhansali has apparently paid no heed to the issue. A fuming Abhyankar has apparently also sent a legal notice to SLB.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Sanjay Leela Bhansali

An agitated Abhyankar says, “I think it is the height of arrogance. I have been hounded by calls from the morning after he released the first look.”

Mukul Abhyankar
Mukul Abhyankar

The filmmaker rules out handing over the title to SLB and states, “I was making the film with UTV and we had even signed actors like Naseerbhai, Dharamji, etc. However for some reason it did not go on the floors and we parted ways in 2010. Now, I am making the film with some other producers. The title is registered with me and no one can claim it.”

Apparently earlier when Abhyankar informed Bhansali about the title issue, the latter assured him it was only a working title. The filmmaker says, “Someone in his office told me that the title is extremely dear to Bhansali since it includes his mother’s name (Leela). In that case, my mother’s name is Kamal, should I be gifted the Raj Kamal banner?”

Apparently SLB’s office even offered him financial compensation in exchange of the title, but Abhyankar says he has declined the offer. He adds, “I have all the documents (copies of which are with Mid-Day) and my film is in progress.”

“The matter has created hurdles for me to take my film ahead,” signs off the disgruntled filmmaker. Bhansali remained unavailable for comment.  

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