Shah Rukh Khan film Ra.One faces copyright challenge

(BBC) Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan has been ordered to pay a deposit of $200,000 (£125,686) to an Indian court in order to secure release of his latest film.

The actor and his production company have been accused of breaching copyright on superhero movie Ra.One.

TV scriptwriter Yash Patnaik says he came up with the concept, and should receive 10% of the film’s profits.

Ra.One, an effects-laden blockbuster, is due out next week.

With a simultaneous international release timed to coincide with the Diwali festival, the film is expected to be a lucrative box office hit.

The Indian press reports that Khan, one of Bollywood’s biggest stars, is likely to pay the deposit to ensure the film comes out on time.

The court will then hear arguments over the copyright issue at a later date.

Passing the order, Chief Justice Mohit Shah and judge Roshan Dalvi observed that it was “unfortunate that people in the film industry use others’ concepts and then don’t want to pay or give them credit”.

A lawyer for Patnaik said the writer had developed the concept of an Indian superhero in 2006, and discussed the idea with Ra.One’s scriptwriter, Mushtaq Sheikh.

He contends that there are several similarities between the characters he created and those that appear in the finished movie.

But lawyers for the film’s production company say the two stories are completely different.

Director Anubhav Sinha had previously told interviewers that he came up with the idea for Ra.One in 2005 after watching a “commercial with two kids controlling a human being with a remote”.

He described the finished product as being a “sci-fi, comedy, romance, father-son relationship, superhero, good over evil fight to save the world”.

With the promotional campaign for the film beginning in January 2011, lawyers have questioned Patnaik’s decision to approach the court over copyright at this late stage.

“The prints have been delivered world wide and it is not possible to hold back the release,’‘ they told the Times of India.

Ra.One is due for release in India on 24 October, and the UK two days later.

The film, the most expensive Bollywood production to date, has already suffered delays due to the extensive special effects and 3D production work.

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