From time to time, one hears about kind producers handing away their old film’s title rights for free to another. However, if the title of an old film, particularly a well-known one, is taken without permission by another film, it can result in a legal snafu. The creators of Khiladi, a Telugu film, found this out the hard way. The film’s title is the same as the super-hit 1992 Hindi film starring Akshay Kumar, and it stars Ravi Teja in the lead role. Ratan Jain, the producer of this Bollywood film, has filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court, alleging that the title “Khiladi” was used without his permission.
Khiladi was released today, not just in the original Telugu language but also in Hindi. Speaking to Bollywood Hungama, Ratan Jain, of Venus Records & Tapes, said, “We have filed the case on both parties – the presenter and the producer”.
In other words, he has expressed his dissatisfaction with the fact that not only the Hindi but also the Telugu versions cannot share the same time. The Hindi version of the action entertainer was directed by Jayantilal Gada of PEN Marudhar. He explained, “We have the trademark registration for ‘Khiladi’. The trademark is all over India. Nobody can use just the title ‘Khiladi’ in the entertainment industry. Titles like ‘Sabse Bada Khiladi’, ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi’, etc are okay. But ‘Khiladi’ is my trademark.”
Ratan Jain then stated, “We had a hearing yesterday. We presented our case. According to the judge, it was too late to stop the release. We made it clear that we do not want to halt the film from being released. I don’t know why they did this but they released the trailer very late, on February 8, though their film’s release was planned for February 11. We prepared for the case on February 9. The case went for hearing at the Delhi High Court on February 10. So, from my side, I have not done any delay.”
When asked why he didn’t raise the issue before, Ratan Jain replied that he learnt about the film at the last moment, after seeing the trailer. He reasoned, “Agar Khiladi naam ki film Telugu mein ban rahi hai, toh humko Mumbai mein kaise malum padega?” He continued, “Now the whole ballgame has changed. The South filmmakers register the title through the association in the South. Thanks to the success of Pushpa (2021), this has now become a trend – to release a South film in the dubbed version in cinemas on the same day. And they are using the same title for the Hindi version. Tomorrow, they’ll use the title of many other big Bollywood hit films for their movies. Kitna bada confusion hoga isse. Today, if you google for our Khiladi film, you’ll get results of the Telugu film. This is not done. There’s a copyright law in place and the makers should have followed it.”
Sharing further details about the court case, Ratan Jain said, “The judge told us yesterday that principally, we are right but the film’s release neither can be stopped nor should we attempt to do so as several people and the distribution and exhibition sectors are involved.”
He also stated, “The court will now give a right direction to the makers, regarding the electronic release, that is, the OTT release. Our next hearing is on Wednesday, February 16.” So is he demanding financial compensation? To which he replied, “Let the court decide. I don’t have a say on this matter. My only point is that they cannot release the film as Khiladi as that is my trademark.”
Ratan Jain has a different motive behind suing the Khiladi makers, “I want to set a precedent. Pehli baat toh yeh South ke log Hindi film ka title rakhte kyun hai? The reason behind this is that they want somebody to buy their dubbing rights and release the same film in Hindi. This is wrong. Aap Telugu title rakho na apni film ka.”