Bilal Lashari’s lawyer sets record straight on ‘Maula Jatt rights controversy!’

Maula Jatt legal dispute

Ever since the first episode of the entire Maula Jatt controversy came to light, we have always hoped that both the parties would sit together and resolve their issues once and for all. Although there is no news of that happening, the parties did sit together on television recently and discuss, one on one, what actually the issue is.

This development took place on Dunya TV’s program, Nuqta e Nazar, which aired on January 9, 2019, after Sarwar Bhatti’s lawyer, Hassaan Niazi, had made a couple of enraged tweets targeting Bilal Lashari & Co. The lawyers of both the parties came on the same public platform for the first time and put forward their arguments in front of everyone.

The Argument

Among other issues, the biggest bone of contention between both the parties at this moment is on who owns the literary rights of the film. Literary rights are primarily the entitlement over the use of the characters, names, and dialogues, among other things for a piece of literary work.

The last time when we reported on the issue, Sarwar Bhatti’s lawyer had come on twitter and claimed that the Intellectual Property Organisation of Pakistan had now awarded their client the “Certificate of Ownership” for the 1979 original, “Mola Jatt.”

He had further claimed that Bilal Lashari tried to take these rights from them by force but the court had issued a restraining order against him. Hassaan Niazi, the lawyer, repeated his claims on the TV show as well.

Bilal Lashari’s lawyer, Muhammad Ahmad Pansota, also appeared on the show and challenged the claims made by Sarwar Bhatti’s side. He said the rights owned by and awarded to Sarwar Bhatti by IPO are actually cinematographic rights, while they own the literary rights of the film, which is all they need to produce The Legend of Maula Jatt.

Literary Rights vs Cinematographic Rights

Further explaining the difference between the two, Pansota said that cinematographic rights mean that you cannot redo the actual compilation of the original film and that its parts cannot be reproduced without the permission of Sarwar Bhatti. The literary rights, one the other hand, are about the ownership and usage of the characters and dialogues.

Translation: This actually means that while the makers of The Legend of Maula Jatt cannot reproduce the exact scenes and settings from the original film, they are free to use its dialogues, characters, along with their names in a different setting and story.

Pansota also said in the same program that ‘team Sarwar Bhatti’ had challenged their literary rights in the court, on which the court did issue a stay on 19th December, 2017. He, however, added that the court had vacated that stay on 7th August, 2018, clearing Bilal Lashari of any violations.

He said that the court had ruled that since the movie hadn’t even released yet, there was no question of there being any similarities in terms of scenes or settings.

While Hassaan shared the certificate they own through his tweets and we shared it with you earlier, we also recently got our hands on the certificate owned by the makers of The Legend of Maula Jatt. It is attached here for public viewing.

The Row over the Title

Hassaan Niazi then raised the issue of the title in the program and said that Bilal Lashari was in no rights to use the words, Maula + Jatt, in that order for the title of his film. To this, Pansota responded by saying that while the name Maula Jatt alone cannot be used, the court had allowed them to use it with additional suffixes and prefixes, following which Bilal titled his film, The Legend of Maula Jatt.

To understand the entire row over the title better, read this earlier piece of Galaxy Lollywood.

Pansota further contested that if the other party has any real issue with this name, why they haven’t challenged it in the court yet. To this, Hassaan responded by saying that they will, soon.

Veteran comedian, Sohail Ahmad, also appeared on the show and urged both the parties to allow space to each other, and let Bilal Lashari do what he is doing with the film. He said that Sarwar Bhatti had made a great film that had immense appeal in its time and Bilal Lashari is also a big name of the film industry today. If he is doing something good for the film industry, he should be allowed to.

We also end our piece on this beautiful thought of Sohail Ahmad.

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Live in Karachi. A Charted Accountant to be, hopefully. A writer today, a writer always. Email: aayanmughal@gmail.com