Updated: February 24, 2017 9:38:58 am
Bollywood films landing into controversies days before release have become a common phenomenon. The latest one which is battling it out in courts before it comes out in theatres is Vishal Bhardwaj’s Rangoon starring Kangana Ranaut, Shahid Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan. The point of contention is whether it is based on the life of Fearless Nadia aka Mary Evans and her film Hunterwali (1935). Wadia Movietone, the producers of the 1935 film, took the makers of the war drama to Bombay High Court where its counsels argued that the trailer and the posters of Vishal Bhardwaj’s film portrays Kangana as a fearless movie star of the 1940s and this is a proof enough to prove that her character has been copied from Fearless Nadia of Hunterwali.
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They also said that the posters and trailers have 19 scenes that resemble the 1935 black-and-white film. Nadia was famous for saying ‘Bloody hell’ and reportedly it is Kangana’s catchphrase in Rangoon too. Not only the various scenes but also Kangana Ranaut’s looks in the film wielding a whip and her bold attitude have been found similar to Fearless Nadia.
Meanwhile Kangana told IANS, “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”.
Wadia Movietone’s senior counsels also presented the e-mail conversation of the company with director Vishal Bhardwaj, former UTV heads Ronnie Screwvala and Siddharth Roy Kapoor. According to them, Roy Wadia, CEO of Wadia Movietone, wanted to narrate the story of Nadia to the audience and for the same, he gave a script to the ace filmmaker in 2006 but Vishal returned it within 13 months claiming that it was not worth turning into a Bollywood flick.
“It’s a clear case of copyright infringement. Both the character as well as the script have been copied. Only instead of Fearless Nadia, Kangana’s character has been named Jaanbaaz Miss Julia,” said Seervai while talking to Mid-Day. The counsel also demanded injunction on the movie’s release.
In his defence, Vishal says that Rangoon is not only about one stuntwoman — Fearless Nadia — but is based on various stunt women from the era of World War II. Also, the director claimed that he took all the necessary information from public domains and not from any script.
Watch | Rangoon Trailer here
Justice KR Shriram who is looking into the issue asked Seervai about his client’s demands apart from the injunction. And when Seervai said he will need to discuss it with Wadia, Justice Shriram took everyone by surprise by saying, “At the end of the day, it is money that settles most matters.” Counsels for Vishal Bhardwaj and current producers of the film will argue their case on Wednesday.
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