Jugjugg Jeeyo: Dharma Productions Gets Relief From Ranchi Court In Copyright Row Over Film's Story

The petitioner Vishal Singh had sued the makers of the film Jugjugg Jeeyo for stealing his story for the Varun Dhawan-Kiara Advani film.

Karan Johar's Dharma Productions gets relief in a copyright infringement case in a Ranchi Court against the production house.

The petitioner Vishal Singh had sued the makers of the film Jugjugg Jeeyo for stealing his story for the Varun Dhawan-Kiara Advani film.

Singh's case was that he had shared his story with Somen Mishra, Creative Head, Dharma Productions under the title Bunni Rani. Accordingly, the entire story was narrated to Somen Mishra and in turn to Dharma Production. The learned counsel further argued that the plaintiff was verbally informed by Somen Mishra that ‘Bunny Rani’ was examined by Dharma’s team but they did not deem it to be conducive to be turned into a feature film. 

The plaintiff was assured by Somen Mishra and his team that the story was discarded by Dharma Productions. Subsequently, on 16.11.2020 defendant no.3 Somen Mishra announced the production of the film title “Jug Jugg Jiyo’ was to be solely produced by Dharma Productions.

According to the plaintiff, the trailer of the film which was released last month had striking resemblances with his script.

A bare viewing of the trailer of 'Jug Jugg Jeeyo' and comparing the same with the plaintiff's story ' Bunny Rani' makes it amply clear that the defendants have copied and used the plaintiff's story ' Bunny Rani', the plea says.

Senior Advocate Chander M Lall representing Dharma Productions argued that the film is based on the story titled ‘Golden Jubilee’ written by Sumit Batheja and has no resemblance to the plaintiff's story. Lall also informed the court that Baheja's story was registered with the screenwriters association on 8.6. 2019. Pointing to the stark difference in timelines with respect to the registration of the story, the defendant's counsel said that no case of copyright infringement is made against Dharma Productions.

It was further argued that a mere one-page story cannot be said to be a story for picturization. In many cases, it has been held that a mere Idea does not provide rights for Copyright. It was further argued that mere coincidence here and there cannot be a ground for Copyrights Violation. The learned counsel led the court through the similarities or dissimilarities mentioned in the storyline and story of the plaintiff. 

The court was of the view the case was filed by the plaintiff on the basis of his less than one-page story 'Bunny Rani' registered with the Screen Writer’s Association and subsequent production of the Film ‘Jug Jugg Jiyo’. The plaintiff has come up with the case just after seeing the trailer of the film ‘Jug Jugg Jiyo’. It is not possible for any person to reach a conclusion about the similarity merely on the basis of the one-page story with the minutes' trailer of the film. The film, as has been stated on behalf of the defendants, is of about 150 minutes. So admittedly the 150 minutes story and picturization when compared with less than a one-page story will not be proper.

The court was of the view that the balance of convenience tilts towards Dharma productions as per the facts of the case. Accordingly, the court dismissed the plaintiff's claim for interim injunction and refused to grant a stay on the release of the film.

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