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TN HC stays release of Kamal Hassan's new film

Written by: Staff

Chennai, Jan 20: In yet another case of trouble over his film, the Madras High Court today stayed the release of ace actor Kamal Haasan's Tamil film ''Dasaavatharam'', in which he is playing ten roles.

Ms Justice Chitra Venkataraman granted the stay for four weeks, on a suit filed by S Senthil Kumar of Chennai and ordered notice to Kamal Hassan, who has taken credit for the story, returnable by four weeks, and to Oscar Ravichandran, producer of the film.

In her interim order, the judge said there was no harm in granting injunction for a limited period of four weeks from exhibiting the flim.

Hence, Interim Injunction was granted for four weeks, with the liberty to Kamal Hassan and Oscar Ravichandran to go ahead with shooting for the film.

In his petition, Senthil Kumar sought to restrain Kamal Hassan and Oscar Ravichadran, the director of M/s Oscar Films Private Limited, from continuing with the shooting of the film or in any manner releasing the same for public viewing, pending disposal of the suit.

He alleged that Kamal Hassan and Oscar Ravichandran had copied the story written by him and were producing the film by changing the title to ''Dasavatharam'', which was a breach of trust, and by doing so they have committed fraud, which was criminal in nature.

It may be recalled that Kamal had run into controversies over the original title of his film ''Virumandi'' a few years ago, while his own production ''Mumbai Xpress'' in 2004, led to objections by the Pattali Makkal Katchi and DPI parties over titling a Tamil film in English while ''Vasul Raja'', a remake of Bollywood hit ''Munnabhai MBBS'' also faced legal action in the High Court from its original financiers, in 2005.

Mr Senthil Kumar submitted that he had been writing several stories and has also been the assistant director for a few movies including ''Dhanush'' and ''Appadai''. He said had a long time ambition for writing a story which will be a great tell-tale in the Tamil film industry. Hence he wrote the story of 'Dassavatharam'. The story covers ten important roles for the hero and 1000s of petty roles played by the person officiating as the hero. The story under the banner of ''Ardhanari'' alias 'Clones' was created, invented and made by him.

He thought that this story would be suitable for Kamal Haasan, and sent a brief note to the actor to know his interest in performing the lead role in it. He was called by one Murali, office assistant of Kamal Haasan to visit Kamal on August 8, 2005. On that day, he was asked to narrate the story to Murali and to leave a copy of the story for perusal by Kamal Haasan. He was informed that if the actor would be interested in translating the story into a movie, he would be the assistant director and he would be given a lump sum for his creations, the petitioner submitted.

But to his dismay, he saw an interview of Kamal Haasan in a Tamil daily about the same story and the roles he was to perform, titling the film 'Dassavatharam' to directed by Mr K S Ravikumar.

When he contacted Murali, he was informed him that he was nominated as assistant director for the proposed film and asked to keep in touch with the office.

Kamal Haasan's act of copying his story and virtually denying him the fruits of his invention became clear through a publication in the same daily which said the shooting for the film would commence from August 18, 2006, he submitted.

It was also claimed that Kamal Haasan had authored the story. He submitted.

The petitioner contended that when he went to Kamal Hassan's office to enquire why his creation was unlawfully treated with an ulterior motive, he was treated badly.

The way in which it was used for the personal benefit of Kamal Haasan and Oscar Ravichandran should that the copy right/intellectual property right created in his favour were infringed not even a short summary was changed from his original story. Hence, he was forced to file a complaint with the police on September 12 last year, to stop the shooting of the film, he submitted.

He had also sent notice to Kamal Haasan and Oscar Ravichandran on September 28, 2006 with a copy marked to the Chairman, Tamil Film Producers Council. Due to the pressure and influence exerted by the duo, any action that the police would have taken, was thwarted, he submitted.

Even after receiving the notice and seeing various publications effected in various magazines about the copying of his story, the duo did not even care to deny the allegations which showed that they have no defence, he submitted.

Oscar Ravichandran alone sent a reply on October 25, 2006 denying certain portions of the notice without an answer to his claim for infringement of his inventions, he submitted.


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