Delhi HC fines Ram Gopal Varma Rs 10 lakh for remaking Sholay and violating its copyright


The Delhi high court fined ten lakh on film-maker Ram Gopal Varma and his production house for making the remake of 1975 blockbuster Sholay, stating that it violated Ramesh Sippy’s exclusive copyright for the film.

Justice Manmohan Singh said that by making Ram Gopal Varma ke Sholay, Ram Gopal and his team have “intentionally and deliberately” violated the exclusive moral rights of the film’s copyright.

The Court order stated, “The publicity material coupled with the impugned film, gives an overall impression that it is a remake of the film ‘Sholay’. The use of similar plot and characters in the impugned film coupled with use of the underlying music, lyrics and background score and even dialogues from the original film Sholay amounts to an infringement in copyright of the film Sholay.” 

Sascha Sippy, the son and grandson of original Sholay‘s producers Vijay Sippy and G.P. Sippy had filed a lawsuit against the remake alleging that it is violative of exclusive copyright held by the Sholay Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd.

Following this lawsuit, the court imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh as “punitive damages” on Varma, his production house M/S RGV Productions Pvt Ltd as well as Varma Corporation Ltd and on Madhu Varma and restrained them from using any character like Gabbar or Gabbar Singh in the original film.

Meanwhile, it is also being held that even the 2007 film Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag had also “distorted and mutilated the original copyright work” and is found guilty of infringement under Section 14(a) and Section 55 of Copyright Act, 1957.

The super hit original film Sholay of 1975 featured Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan and Amjad Khan among others.