Karan Johar’s ‘Gunjan Saxena’ in Legal Trouble?

Indian director and producer Karan Johar’s film ‘Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl’ has reportedly landed in legal trouble.

Gunjan Saxena Karan Johar

It stated that the tariff for the performers’ rights was fixed

Indian director and producer Karan Johar’s film Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl has reportedly got into legal trouble.

The Delhi High Court summoned Dharma Productions Pvt Ltd over a lawsuit filed by the Indian Singers Rights Association (ISRA).

ISRA alleged that certain performances in Karan Johar’s movie were commercially exploited and has sought a royalty.

Prior to ISRA, Gunjan Saxena, starring Janhvi Kapoor, had also been targeted by the Indian Air Force for misinterpretation of sexism in their ranks.

In the latest court case, the makers of the movie have been accused of copyright infringement by using three old Bollywood songs.

The songs in question are ‘Ae Ji O Ji’ from the movie Ram Lakhan, ‘Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai’ from Khalnayak and ‘Saajan Ji Ghar Aaye’ from Johar’s own movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

ISRA had sought the enforcement of its performers’ rights under the Indian Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012 sections 38 and 38B.

The Singers’ Association claimed that all the performances were originally part of the cinematograph films.

It stated that the tariff for the performers’ rights was fixed and the claimant was set to deposit it before the court pending the final decision.

However, Dharma Productions Pvt. Ltd. has rejected ISRA’s claims.

Karan Johar’s production house claimed that studio performances are not live performances and therefore these do not qualify for payment of royalty.

Dharma Productions said that the license for the songs in question had been taken from the labels concerned.

In view of precedents, the court noted that the definition of ‘performer’ under section 2(qq) of the Copyright Act included a singer and the performer’s right which means any visual or acoustic presentation is live by one or more performers.

The court said that every performance has to be live whether before an audience or in a studio.

Hence, the issue of performers’ right raised by ISRA can be heard in court.

The court deferred the order on payment until the next date of hearing and asked the parties to complete their pleadings till then.

In a statement, the court claimed: “The rival contentions and the underlying agreements are yet to be considered by this Court.

“At this stage, this court is deferring passing any order/directions to the defendant to deposit the amount.

“The court will defer till the next date of hearing before which date parties will complete their pleadings.”

The next hearing of the matter is scheduled to be on March 12, 2021.

Akanksha is a media graduate, currently pursuing a postgraduate in Journalism. Her passions include current affairs and trends, TV and films, as well as travelling. Her life motto is 'Better an oops than a what if'.