And the fight over the legend that is Maula Jatt continues.
Muttaqi Sarwar, the son of Sarwar Bhatti, who produced the hit 1979 film starring Sultan Rahi and Mustafa Qureshi has been claiming for a while now that the upcoming Maula Jatt flick directed by Bilal Lashari is being marketed in violation of the original classic's copyrights.
Mr Sarwar has now revealed that he has submitted an application for a stay order in the Lahore High Court to prohibit him from using the name (or similar title), character and dialogues that violate intellectual property law. In his petition, he claims that Maula Jutt is being remade illegally and he owns all copyrights related to the film.
However, Ahmed Pansota, the lawyer for The Legend of Maula Jatt team shared, "The order issued by the Honourable Lahore High Court, today, is being misreported in the media. In no way have we been restrained from releasing our movie, The Legend of Maula Jatt. The Honourable High Court has merely directed us to not use any unauthorised copyright or trademarks. To this extent, there is no change in the status quo. We are not using any unauthorised copyright or trademarks, anyway. We have a valid Copyright Certificate on the script for the Legend of Maula Jatt. The Honourable High Court is cognisant of our Copyright Certificate."
He added, “It must be also be stated that media should bear restraint in reporting and discussing today’s Order since there is no written order as of yet.“
“Mr Sarwar Bhatti has created pre-mature and unnecessary hue and cry. Mr Bhatti appears to be using the sacred platform of this second highest forum for the dispensation of justice in Pakistan for pressurising the team of the Legend of Maula Jutt. Mr Bhatti’s malicious intent to mislead the general public is laid bare through such conduct. This propaganda is being spewed to discredit the team of the Legend of Maula Jutt.”
In 2017, Mr Sarwar filed a suit before the Intellectual Property Organisation of Pakistan (IPO-Pakistan) tribunal seeking an injunctive order against the exhibition of The Legend of Maula Jatt.
Muttaqi, who also heads Bahoo Films Corporation, said that the tribunal had restrained Lashari and the producers from using the title, characters and dialogues, adding that the case was still pending. They also filed a case with the Federal Investigation Agency against the team of the new film, and an inquiry was ongoing.
A few months ago, an IPO tribunal had issued contempt notices to producer Ammara Hikmat, director Bilal Lashari, writer Nasir Adeeb, the star cast of the new film, the information secretary and chairmen of all censor boards. “I sent warning notices to everyone associated with the film, including the lead actors, to distance themselves from the project since it was under trial, but none of them listened,” claimed Muttaqi.