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Karan Johar gets relief! Bombay High Court blocks release of Shaadi Ke Director Karan Aur Johar over name rights

en Bollywood News Karan Johar gets relief! Bombay High Court blocks release of Shaadi Ke Director Karan Aur Johar over name rights

This decision comes just a day before the film's scheduled release on June 14, 2024.

The Bombay High Court has put a halt on the release of the upcoming film Shaadi Ke Director Karan Aur Johar, citing unauthorized use of filmmaker Karan Johar's name and personality rights. This decision comes just a day before the film's scheduled release on June 14, 2024.

Karan Johar gets relief! Bombay High Court blocks release of Shaadi Ke Director Karan Aur Johar over name rights

Karan Johar gets relief! Bombay High Court blocks release of Shaadi Ke Director Karan Aur Johar over name rights

According to Live Law India, Johar filed a lawsuit against the film's makers, IndiaPride Advisory Pvt. Ltd., Sanjay Singh (co-producer), and Bablu Singh (director). The lawsuit alleges that the film's title directly references Johar's name, exploiting his brand value and reputation for commercial gain without his consent.

The court presided over by Justice R.I. Chagla, observed a strong prima facie case of unauthorized use. The judge noted the film's title explicitly mentions "director" and "Karan Johar," potentially leading audiences to believe Johar is associated with the project.

As per the report, Justice RI Chagla said in his order, “In my view, a strong prima facie case has been made out by the plaintiff to protect his personality rights which are vested in him considering that he has the status of celebrity as apparent from several blockbuster films which he has directed and produced. There is no manner of doubt that the plaintiff has played a role in transforming the Bollywood film industry and launched the careers of several successful actors. I have to doubt that prima facie the subject film is a direct reference to the plaintiff and makes unauthorised use of the plaintiff's name.”

Johar's legal team, led by Senior Advocate Zal Andhyarujina, argued that celebrities possess personality rights, encompassing both the right to publicity and the right to privacy. They cited past judgments where Indian courts recognized these rights for celebrities like Rajinikanth, Amitabh Bachchan, and Anil Kapoor.

The judge, after reviewing the trailer, remarked that the film appears to be "targeting" Johar's reputation. Further strengthening Johar's case, the court noted the defendants' absence despite receiving notice of the lawsuit and the injunction request.

The court interpreted the defendants' silence as a disregard for Johar's claims and a lack of intention to contest them. This, combined with the film's title, convinced the court that the makers were leveraging Johar's established name to generate interest.

The court issued an ad-interim order restraining the release of the film and any promotional material using Johar's name or likeness. The order remains in effect until the court's next hearing on July 10, 2024. The defendants have the right to seek modification or vacation of the order by providing a seven-day notice to Johar.

Johar's lawsuit emphasizes the potential harm to his reputation and goodwill arising from the film's association with his name. He argues that years of dedicated work have built his brand value, and the unauthorized use of his name in the film's title is a form of exploitation.

The lawsuit highlights the distinctiveness Johar's name has acquired due to his long-standing career in the entertainment industry. This distinctiveness, the argument goes, grants him intellectual property rights, allowing him to control the use of his name.

The Bombay High Court's decision underscores the growing recognition of personality rights for celebrities in India. This case sets a precedent for protecting a public figure's name, reputation, and goodwill from unauthorized commercial exploitation. The upcoming hearing in July will determine the film's fate and whether the makers can address the court's concerns.

ALSO READ: Karan Johar moves Bombay High Court over illegal use of his name in a film’s title


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