Dispute gets hairy

Warners sues over Indian 'Hari Puttar' movie

Warner Bros. has filed a lawsuit against Mumbai-based banner Mirchi Movies related to the title of its upcoming movie "Hari Puttar — A Comedy of Terrors," which Warners feels is a tad too similar to its franchise about a certain young wizard.

The case is being heard in the Bombay High Court and comes up for hearing today. "Hari Puttar" is slated for a Sept. 12 release.

"We have recently commenced proceedings against parties involved in the production and distribution of a movie entitled 'Hari Puttar,' " London-based Warners spokeswoman Deborah Lincoln said. "Warner Bros. values and protects intellectual property rights. However, it is our policy not to discuss publicly the details of any ongoing litigation."

The Hari Puttar name began making the rounds here as a comic gag when the first "Harry Potter" film was released. "Hari" is a popular Indian name, and "Puttar" means son in the Punjabi language.

"Since the case is sub-judice, we can't comment as of now," Mirchi Movies CEO Munish Purii said. "However, we registered the 'Hari Puttar' title in 2005, and it's unfortunate that Warner has chosen to file a case so close to our film's release. In my opinion, I don't think our title has any similarity or links with 'Harry Potter.' "

"Hari Puttar" is directed by Rajesh Bajaj and Lucky Kohli and stars Jackie Shroff, Saurabh Shukla and Sarika.

Warners' next "Harry Potter" installment, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," starring Daniel Radcliffe, is slated for worldwide release in July. (partialdiff)
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