Ram Gopal Varma deliberately violated ‘Sholay’ copyright: HC

New Delhi :The Delhi High Court today slapped Rs 10 lakh fine on noted film maker Ram Gopal Varma and his production house for “intentionally and deliberately” coming out with the remake of 1975 blockbuster ‘Sholay’, violating the exclusive copyright vested with its director Ramesh Sippy.

The judgement was delivered on a lawsuit filed by Sascha Sippy, son and grandson of original Sholay’s producers Vijay Sippy and G P Sippy, in which he had alleged that the remake film ‘Ram Gopal Varma ke Sholay’ was violative of exclusive copyright held by the Sholay Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd.

The high court imposed a fine of Rs 10 Lakh as “punitive damages” on Varma, his production house M/S RGV Productions Pvt Ltd as well as Varma Corporation Ltd and Madhu Varma and restrained them from using any character like Gabbar or Gabbar Singh in the original film.

The high court said Varma and others “in the present case have intentionally and deliberately brought the movie in violation of plaintiffs’ exclusive moral rights of copyright and passing off.”

It held that Varma’s film gave an overall impression that it was a remake of ‘Sholay’ as the characters Gabbar and Gabbar Singh were misused, along with music, lyrics, dialogues and background score of the blockbuster featuring Dharmendra, Amitabh Bacchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Hema Malini and Amjad Khan among others.

“The publicity material coupled with the impugned film, gives an overall impression that it is a remake of the film Sholay.

“The use of similar plot and characters in the impugned film coupled with use of the underlying music, lyrics and background score and even dialogues from the original film Sholay amounts to infringement of copyright in the film Sholay,” Justice Manmohan Singh said.