The headlines in western newspapers put it quite succinctly: “Warner set to tackle Mumbai’s Hari Puttar” (CBC); “Bollywood sued over ‘Hari Puttar'” (news.com.au). The fuss is over what Warner considers as intellectual property transgression of its lucrative Harry Potter franchise.
The producers of Hari Puttar, of course, deny it and argue the film has nothing to do with Rowling’s original, wizardry, or gay headteachers (since it is not a part of Indian culture). Ok, I made up the last one… couldn’t resist it. The Hindi film is due for release September 12. It is interesting how on one hand adoption of western culture and values is considered good for US (read here). Indians take this by the letter and spirit. Take for example the case of Barbara Taylor Bradford Vs Sahara Film, which she lost in Indian courts (read here).
Hari Puttar has more in common with Home Alone than Mr Potter. So I don’t understand Warner’s consternation. I wonder if Warner has heard of a Hindi film n Indian film Aabra Ka Daabra (2004)? Or if Universal has heard of Badi, the Turkish ET?
or if LucasFilm heard of the Turkish Star Wars?
So, earlier it was a problem of difference (smelly, poor, backward people). Now it is a problem of similarity.
(First Published in Edit Room)
Background to the story:
Bhushan, Nyay (2008) ‘Warners suit takes issue with Indian film’s title’ Reuters Sun Aug 24 [Online, accessed 26 Aug 2008] http://news.yahoo.com/story//nm/20080825/film_nm/hari_dc
Anon (2008) ‘Warner set to tackle Mumbai’s Hari Puttar’ CBC, Aug 25 [Online, accessed 26 Aug 2008] http://www.cbc.ca/arts/film/story/2008/08/25/hari-puttar.html
Blakely, Rhys (2008) ‘Hari Puttar? It’s a wizard idea, but Hollywood claims it’s a rip off’ Times Online, Aug 25 [Online, accessed 26 Aug 2008] http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/bollywood/article4608340.ece
Anon (2008) ‘Bollywood sued over ‘Hari Puttar” News.com.au, Aug 26 [Online, accessed 26 Aug 2008] http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,24245651-23109,00.html