LAHORE: A new film, titled The Legend of Maula Jatt, is being marketed in violation of copyrights of the original classic, claimed Muttaqi Sarwar, the son of Sarwar Bhatti, who produced the hit 1979 film starring Sultan Rahi and Mustafa Qureshi.

Muttaqi was talking to Dawn at an exclusive and ticketed screening of the film held at a restaurant in Taxali Gate.

“Right after the release of Waar, its director Bilal Lashari announced that he was going to make The Legend of Maula Jatt, and my father, who had made Maula Jatt, told him that since we owned the trademark and the intellectual copyright, Lashari cannot use it without purchasing the rights from us. The other option was to coproduce,” he said.

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.

On Friday, the IPO tribunal 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.

He went on to say that the young generation, who “pretended to revert to classic Lollywood styles”, actually lacked respect for it.

Speaking to Dawn, Sarwar Bhatti said: “People must understand that intellectual copyrights are as important as property rights. And in foreign countries if stars can be awarded punishments the same should be done in our country. They should not be above the law.”

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2019