Rangoon in copyright row; 19 scenes, Kangana's look allegedly copied from 1935's Hunterwali
It's among the most anticipated releases this month, but Vishal Bhardwaj's Rangoon has found itself in a legal wrangle just days ahead of its Friday, 24 February tryst with the theatres.
The Kangana Ranaut-Saif Ali Khan-Shahid Kapoor starrer is in the dock for copyright infringement, and could potentially face a stay on its release.
Wadia Movietone, the makers of Hunterwali, starring Fearless Nadia (real name Mary Stuart Evans), have filed a case against the Rangoon team for lifting 19 scenes and a few other signature elements from their 1935 action thriller.
As reported by The Indian Express, the counsel for Wadia Movietone have said that among these elements are the catchphrase 'Bloody Hell' used by Kangana Ranaut's character in Rangoon, that was a trademark of Nadia's; her styling as 'Jaanbaaz Julia', which has again been copied from Fearless Nadia; the film's poster; and certain scenes as depicted in the trailer.
Mid-Day further stated that while presenting their case in court, the counsels for Wadia Movietone, presented as evidence, several emails exchanged between the company, Vishal Bhardwaj, and former UTV heads Ronnie Screwvala and Siddharth Roy Kapur. They said that Roy Wadia, the CEO of Wadia Movietone, had been wanting to make a film on Nadia and had approached Bhardwaj and UTV with a script. However, UTV and Bhardwaj had returned the script to Wadia after a little over a year, on the grounds that they were not considering the project.
The court is expected to rule on staying Rangoon's release on Wednesday, 22 February.
Meanwhile, Kangana Ranaut has denied that her character in the film is based on a real-life person.
Kangana told IANS: "I think there is some legal hassle around that. First of all, we cannot comment on a matter when it's already in the court, but we can assure you that it's not based on any living or dead person."
The 29-year-old actress added that Rangoon is "completely a fictional story" and the "characters are fictional as well".