Indian 'My Cousin Vinny' seeks Fox OK

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NEW DELHI -- An Indian adaptation of 1992 hit "My Cousin Vinny" may soon be approved by 20th Century Fox for Ravi Chopra's B R Films, the Mumbai-based director said Monday, signaling a move toward a greater respect for intellectual property.

An officially endorsed "Vinny" adaptation could be a sign of change in a country where filmmakers seldom obtain official permission for adaptations or remakes of foreign films that sometimes inspire local product.

"It's time that respect for intellectual property becomes a regular practice," Chander Lal, the MPA's New Delhi-based legal counsel said that, as Hollywood gets aggressive at the Indian boxoffice and Bollywood films gain popularity in overseas markets,

Chopra, who heads the five-decade-old B R Films, said Fox had given approval "in principle" to make the adaptation, adding: "We are now in the final stages of working out the contract and legalities."

Chopra said he will direct the Hindi "Vinny" with the working title "Pappu Paas Ho Gaya" (Pappu Has Passed), set to star popular comic actors Govinda and Boman Irani along with actress Lara Dutta.

"We plan to begin shooting latest by September and are hoping for a release by April 2008," Chopra said. "We will only use the basic storyline of the original film since my film is not a remake," Chopra added.

The original "Vinny," directed by Jonathan Lynn, starred Joe Pesci as Vinny Gambini, a struggling lawyer who fights a case to free his accused cousin (Ralph Macchio). Marisa Tomei won a best supporting actress Oscar for her performance as Gambini's fiancee.

A Fox spokesman said the studio has not sold or licensed the rights to the film.
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