Director Shankar has approached the Supreme Court challenging the Final order of the Madras High Court that the Copyright violation case against him for the Tamil Movie ‘Endhiran’ cannot be dismissed.

Director Shankar has approached the Supreme Court challenging the Final order of the Madras High Court that the Copyright violation case against him for the Tamil Movie ‘Endhiran’ cannot be dismissed.

Mr.Aarur Tamilnadan, a writer from Tamilnadu had written a story titled ‘Jiguba’ which was published in the Tamil Magazine ‘Iniya Udhayam’ during the year 1996. The same story was re-published in 2007 in another Novel titled ‘Dhik Dhik Dheepika’. At this juncture, in 2010 after the release of the Tamil movie ‘Endhiran’ under the direction Mr.Shankar, it was found that the story of ‘Endhiran’ was copied from the story of ‘Jiguba’. Mr.Aarur Tamilnadan, the author of ‘Jiguba’ immediately sent a legal notice to Mr.Kalanidhi Maran, the Producer and Mr.Shankar, the Director of the film ‘Endhiran’. Since there was no reply from either of them, Mr.Aarur Tamilnadan filed a complaint of Copyright Violation to the Commissioner of Police, Chennai against both of them.

The compliant stated that the director and producer had copied his story to create the film ‘Endhiran’ which was a mere violation of the Copyright Act,1957. Further, they had earned a huge monetary benefit (in crores) from the film which was originally the idea and creation of the complainant and therefore a punishable offence under the Copyright Act, 1957. Mr.Aarur Tamilnadan filed this complaint seeking for legal action against the producer and the director, but the Police authorities did not file any complaint even after investigating for a long period of time. Therefore, the complainant filed a Criminal case through private complaint against Mr.Kalanithi Maran and Mr.Shankar before the 13th Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Egmore, Chennai.

The Criminal case was filed and the 13th Metropolitan Magistrate Court summoned both the accused person to appear before the court in 2011. Following this, Mr.Kalanithi Maran and Mr.Shankar filed a Quash petition before the Hon’ble High Court of Madras seeking an order to quash the proceedings before the Egmore Magistrate stating that the story was not copied from Mr.Aarur Tamilnadan and therefor his complaint was invalid.

The Hon’ble High Court of Madras granted a stay order for the case before the Egmore Magistrate. This case has been proceeding in the Madras High Court over the past 10 years. On 06.06.2019, Hon’ble Justice. Pugazhendhi delivered his judgement in this case. As per the verdict, it was held that the complaint of Mr.Aarur Tamilnadan against Mr.Kalanithi Maran was invalid. However, the court admitted the case against the director Mr.Shankar and stated that there were 16 similarities between the story and the film. The verdict contained a table enlisting the similarities between the story and the film. The court held that the alleged Copyright violation was proved and therefore directed the Egmore Magistrate Court to resume the proceedings under Copyright Act against Director.Shankar.

Moreover, an order was passed stating that Mr.Shankar shall not be required to appear before the court in all hearings because he was a famous personality and that his appearance before the court would lead to public crowd and administrative complications. Therefore, he shall be required to appear in hearings only when required specifically by the court. At this juncture where the Egmore Magistrate Court was about to initiate the proceedings and resume investigation, the regular activities of the court were restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now after one year Mr.Shankar has approached the Supreme Court by way of an appeal against the judgement passed by the Madras High Court. The appeal is expected to be heard by the Supreme Court very soon.

Director Shankar has not appeared before the Egmore Magistrate Court even once. It is pertinent to note that the civil case filed by the same writer before the Hon’ble High Court of Madras against Director Shankar is pending and he has failed to appear before the court even after the Hon’ble High Court passing a specific order directing him to appear and adduce evidence.

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