MUMBAI: It may be a nail biting finish for Rangoon, the Kangana Ranaut-Saif Ali Khan-Shahid Kapoor starrer, in the Bombay high court ahead of its scheduled release date of February 24. Its director Vishal Bhardwaj is defending allegations that the film’s swashbuckling 1940s movie star character is copyright violation of ‘Fearless Nadia’ a stunt actor of the 1930s and ’40s.
A production house, Wadia Movietone Pvt. Ltd, has claimed that Miss Julia, the character of Ranaut, is based on real-life Australian stunt actor Mary Evans, better known globally as Fearless Nadia. The firm said it holds rights to all scripts, publicity material and posters for the Fearless Nadia films which it had produced. The Wadias’ suit alleges that the makers of Rangoon have infringed on the copyrighted Fearless Nadia’s characters, costumes, persona and even her signature phrase.
But seeking dismissal of the suit as being baseless, Bhardwaj’s lead counsel Ravi Kadam argued on Wednesday that there is no copyright on historical characters and it is well known that in that era there were a large number of stunt women who would perform their own stunts. More importantly, he said that Fearless Nadia was the name of the actress and not a character in any of their films. The Wadia films “reflect the genre of the 1940s and not any individual”, he said.