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Raabta plagiarism row: Final verdict expected tomorrow

The Andhra Pradesh high court listened to arguments from both sides for five hours on 6 June.

Mayur Lookhar

With just a day left before the scheduled release of Raabta starring Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti Sanon, the producers are sweating over the fate of the film.

Raabta is embroiled in a plagiarism row with Andhra Pradesh-based production house Geetha Arts alleging that the film is lifted from its blockbuster Magadheera (2009), directed by SS Rajamouli and starring Ram Charan Teja and Kajal Aggarwal.

Geetha Arts had moved the Andhra Pradesh high court and the matter was debated for over five hours yesterday. The verdict is expected tomorrow.

The team of Raabta issued a long statement on what transpired in court, with the producers' lawyers arguing that there was no similarity with Magadheera.

Raabta's lawyers said the backgrounds of the lead characters, the development of the story, the role of the villain, the locations and, most importantly, the finale of the film are materially different from those of Magadheera.

They said the concern of Geetha Arts that the iconic 100 warriors scene had been lifted was unfounded and there is no such scene either in the film or its trailer.

Raabta's makers also said the similarities, if any, were common to films on the theme of reincarnated lovers such as Kudrat (1981), Prem (1995), Hameshaa (1997), and Om Shanti Om (2007). In fact, the makers cited more than 100 films based on this theme.

Ankit Relan, lawyer for T-Series, confirmed that the injunction application has been reserved for orders. "We have filed the entire script of our film along with a comparative chart showing how the two films are different in their stories, treatment and expression, something that the plaintiff ought to have done in the first place as part of his pleadings to show comparative similarities," Relan said.

According to Relan, "the entire suit, which has been filed at the eleventh hour despite the trailer coming out more than six weeks ago, is based on conjecture. We can't understand how a film of 2 hours 30 min duration can reasonably be compared with a trailer of around 2 minutes to jump to a conclusion of copyright infringement."

Relan said Raabta's makers had offered to show the entire film to the representatives of Geetha Arts on 17 May, but they received a response only on the midnight of 30 May, one night before the next hearing, stating that the letter was lying with the watchman of the addressee's building for several days. "They rejected the offer to see the film, of course," he said.