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High Court vacates interim stay on release of Kunal Kohli’s ‘Phir Se’

Kunal Kohli

Mumbai: In a relief to filmmaker Kunal Kohli, the Bombay High Court today vacated the interim stay on the release of “Phir Se”, in which he is debuting as the lead actor.

A division bench of justices V M Kanade and B P Colabawalla vacated the interim stay granted by a single bench of the high court few months ago on its release after it found prima facie similarities between this film’s script and another movie “R.S.V.P”.

The high court today, however, directed Kohli to deposit a sum of Rs 50 lakh within two weeks as security. The court will hear at length at a later stage a suit filed by writer Jyoti Kapoor alleging copyright infringement and breach of confidence against Kohli and production house Bombay Film Company.

According to Kapoor, in 2010 she had written a script for “R.S.V.P” and registered it with the Film Writers Association. In 2013, she met Kohli who showed an interest in her script. However, the two could not arrive at an agreement following which Kapoor approached another production house which agreed to make her film.

In 2014, Kapoor came across newspaper articles about Kohli launching a new film “Phir Se”. From the articles and Kohli’s interviews, Kapoor realised that Kohli had used her screenplay.

Kapoor lodged a complaint with the FWA and Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (IMPPA) and also issued a notice to Kohli. In November 2014, a Joint Dispute Settlement Committee of IMPPA issued notice to Kohli directing him to stop shooting of the movie “Phir Se” till the matter is resolved.

Despite the notice from IMPPA, Kohli went ahead with the shooting of the movie. Following this, Kapoor approached the high court.

According to the defendants, the setting, the treatment and the climax of the film “Phir Se” are completely different from “R.S.V.P.”. They further claim that in the past several movies have been made similar to “R.S.V.P” and hence Kapoor’s script was not novel.

“Phir Se”, which marks the debut of Kohli as the male lead and TV actor Jennifer Winget as female lead, is slated for release this year.

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