Bilal Lashari’s Maula Jatt has been in the news for all the right and wrong reasons since the director announced the project. Slated to release on Eidul Fitr next year, the film is said to have a new screenplay and is not a remake or sequel of the original in any manner. However, this hasn’t left producer of the original movie — Sarwar Bhatti — satisfied as he has yet again claimed to have attained a stay order against the film.
Bhatti, who produced the original Maula Jatt which came out in 1979, had filed a suit before the Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan’s (IPO) tribunal last year seeking an injunctive order against the exhibition of Maula Jatt being directed by Bilal Lashari. He claimed to possess the rights of the movie, including title and cinematography.
The tribunal forwarded the case to Federal Investigation Agency for inquiry and sought replies from Bilal Lashari and later, the IPO rejected Bhatti’s claims. Something Haute has now acquired a document issued by IPO, which clearly states that, “No any violation of the CRO 1962 has been committed by the Encyclomedia Lashari Films [producers of the upcoming Maula Jatt],” further stating that, “The cinematic work [in Bilal’s Maula Jatt] is actually very derivative work.”
Remarks of the Intellectual Property Tribunal
Ironically, this is a year-old case which was resolved amicably between the two parties. Sarwar has a copyright only on the title and distribution of his film and Bilal’s film may not even have the same title when released. Bilal’s version of Maula Jatt can only violate the copyrights if they duplicate the original movie, sell or screen it in a theater.
As far as the characters and script are concerned, Nasir Adeeb’s Vehshi Jatt introduced the character of Maula Jatt for the first time in 1975 and the series of ‘Jatt’ films continued with Maula Jatt. Bilal Lashari has a new script for his edition and dialogues of the film are written by none other than Nasir Adeeb himself, who has the literary rights.
Speaking to Something Haute producer of the forthcoming Maula Jatt, Ammara Hikmat, negated the claim, “My company is within its legal rights to release the movie and there is no stay order in place,” she said.
All the previous versions of the ‘Jatt’ series have been backed by different producers and thus Sarwar’s claims seem like a feeble attempt to cash in on the hype of the film and stay relevant. Bilal’s movie will be featuring Fawad Khan as Maula Jutt, Hamza Ali Abbasi as Noori Natt, along with Mahira Khan and Humaima Mallick in lead roles.