SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Page 10 of 36
different and bore not the remotest connection or resemblance with the play written by the plaintiff.
The picture was released in Delhi in September, 1956 and the plaintiff read some comments in the papers which gave the impression that the picture was very much like the play ‘Hum Hindustani’ written by the plaintiff. The plaintiff himself saw the picture on the 9th September, 1956 and he found that the film was entirely based upon the said play and was, therefore, convinced that the defendant after having heard the play narrated to him by the plaintiff dishonestly imitated the same in his film and thus committed an act of piracy so as to result in violation of the copyright of the plaintiff. The plaintiff accordingly filed the suit for damages, for decree for accounts of the profits made by the defendants and a decree for permanent injunction against the defendants restraining them from exhibiting the film ‘New Delhi’
The suit was contested by defendants No. 1 and 2 as also by other defendants who adopted the pleas raised by defendants No. 1 and 2.
The defendants, inter alia, pleaded that they were not aware that the plaintiff was the author of the play ‘Hum Hindustani’ nor were they aware that the play was very well received at Delhi. Defendant No. 2 is a film Director and is also the proprietor of defendant No. 1 Delux Films. The defendants averred that in November, 1954 the second defendant was discussing some ideas for his new picture with Mr. Balwant Gargi who is a play wright of some repute. In the course of the discussion, the second defendant informed Mr. Gargi that the second defendant was interested in producing a motion film based on ‘provincialism’ as its central theme. In the context of these discussions Mr. Gargi enquired of defendant No. 2 if the latter was interested in hearing the play called ‘Hum Hindustani’ produced by the plaintiff which also had the same theme of provincialism in which the second defendant was interested. It was, therefore, at the instance of Mr. Gargi that the second defendant wrote to the plaintiff and requested him to send a copy of the script of the play. The defendant goes on to state that the plaintiff read out the play to the second defendant in the presence of Rajinder Bhatia and Mohan Kumar, Assistant Directors of the second defendant when they had
come to Delhi in connection with the release of their film “Adhikar”. The second defendant has taken a clear stand that after having heard the play he informed the plaintiff that though the play might have been all right for the amateur stage, it was too inadequate for the purpose of making a full length commercial motion picture. The defendants denied the allegation of the plaintiff that it was after hearing the play written by the plaintiff that the defendants decided to make a film — based on the play and entitled it as ‘New Delhi’
The defendant thus submitted that there could be no copy—right so far as the subject of provincialism is concerned which can be used or adopted by any body in his own way. He further averred that the S motion picture was quite different from the play ‘Hum Hindustani’ both in contents, spirit and climax. The mere fact that there were some similarities between the film and the play could be explained by the fact that the idea, viz., provincialism was the common source of the play as also of the film. The defendant thus denied that there was any violation of the copy right.