Re Cease and desist notice for using the title “Sridevi” for your film and infringing the personality rights, intellectual property rights, constitutional rights and any other rights of Our Client.
We write to you on behalf of our client Ms. Sridevi Kapoor (“Our Client”) wife of Mr. Boney Kapoor, with instructions to state as under:
1. As you are aware, Our Client is a famous and a well acclaimed actress in the Indian film industry for the past several decades. Our Client is considered to be an icon across the world in the cinema industry and is regarded as one of the leading actors in the country. Our Client has garnered immense reputation and goodwill for her contribution to the film industry. Our Client is cited as the first female superstar of Hindi cinema. Our Client has been bestowed with several awards in her professional career including five Filmfare Awards, Padma Shri Award as well as ‘India’s Greatest Actress in 100 Years’ Award. Our Client’s acting skills, style, mannerisms have contributed to her popularity. Needless to say, the fame and reputation associated with the name, likeness and persona of Our Client transcends borders and Our Client enjoys immense goodwill around the world.
2. Our Client has come to know that you are directing/producing a Telugu film which was earlier titled. “Savitri” (“Your Film”). The first look of Your Film has already stirred a lot of controversy and is being perceived as being obscene, sleazy and vulgar. It has been widely reported that the State Child Rights Protection Commission has termed the poster of Your Film “vulgar” and firmly believes that it is in violation of child rights. Our Client has further come to know that you have suddenly changed the title of Your Film from “Savitri” to “Sridevi”. On learning that the title of Your Film has been changed from “Savitri” to “Sridevi”, Our Client’s husband Mr. Boney Kapoor who is a well-known producer in the film industry, immediately tried to contact you to seek an explanation regarding the use of Our Client’s name as a title of Your Film. However instead of providing an explanation to Mr. Boney Kapoor, you simply sent a text on Whatsapp to Mr. Boney Kapoor with contents of a press note released by you which in no manner provided an explanation on the use of Our Client’s name for Your Film.
3. Our Client started her career in the South Indian film industry and has acted in several Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films. She is considered to be a Diva not only in Bollywood but also in the South Indian film industry. Our Client has over the years established herself as one of the leading actresses in the Telugu and Tamil cinema and enjoys highest regards, reputation and goodwill in the entire South Indian film industry and Bollywood. In this regard, it is pertinent to note that you have in the past on several occasions publicly expressed your fascination, love and obsession for Our Client. Contents of a blog written by you on Our Client is enclosed herewith asExhibit A. Also enclosed as Exhibit B are several media articles reporting your obsession and love for Our Client. It is evident from your blog and the said media articles that you have publicly announced your attraction towards Our Client and the public at large is aware about the same. Moreover it seems that the story of Your Film is based on a boy who falls in love with an elderly woman. Taking into account the popularity of Our Client in the Telugu Cinema read with your public expression of . obsession with Our Client and the story line of Your Film, the public at large is bound to relate Your Film with Our Client. It is therefore apparent that you have titled YourFilm as “Sridevi” to en cash on the goodwill and reputation of Our Client particularly in the South.
4. Our Client states that the change of Your Film’s title to “Sridevi” is bound to make the public at large believe that Your Film is associated with Our Client and / or Our Client has authorized you to use her name for Your Film. Our Client being a well-known celebrity, has the right to command and control the use of her name, image, likeness or other unequivocal aspects of her distinctiveness. Any misuse of her name, likeness, persona, etc. amounts to infringement of the personality right vested with Our Client besides amounting to acts of passing off. Any misuse of Our Client’s name, image, likeness, etc. would cause considerable confusion amongst the trade and public, who would seek to view any projects associated with Our Client or using her name, likeness or persona entirely on the basis of its supposed approval by Our Client. Our Client states that such film based upon Our Client’s name, likeness or persona would be a gross violation of her privacy and would subject her to needless embarrassment as she does not have any control over the content of any unauthorized or unapproved project/film. Given the stature, respect and renown enjoyed by Our Client internationally, such embarrassment and needless violation of privacy is undue, prejudicial and. of potentially defamatory nature. Our Client has already suffered considerable embarrassment due to the queries being raised to her regarding the title of Your Film and the association of Your Film with Our Client. Our Client iterates that right to privacy is recognized under Article 21 of the Constitution and Our Client has the fundamental right to safeguard her privacy.
5. Our Client further states that the subject line of Your Film seems to be outraging the modesty of a woman. The first look of Your Film shows a young teenage boy ogling at the navel of a young woman, and has already incensed women and child rights activists. Based on the first look of Your Film and the media perception of Your Film, Our Client reasonably apprehends that Your Film has scenes of immoral/obscene nature which would subject Our Client to defamation and grossly damage her reputation and goodwill built over years of hard work.
6. Our Client has not authorized you to use her name for Your Film. The use of Our Client’s name, likeness, persona etc. without her consent amounts to violation of her personality rights solely vested with her. You have unauthorizedly used Our Client’s name to promote Your Film to illicitly derive benefit and the same amounts to causing confusion and deception amongst the trade and public and further consequential acts of passing off.
7. Without prejudice to the aforesaid, Our Client further states that use of her name as the title of Your Film would also diminish the possibility of Our Client authorizing a film to be made on her life with the title being her name, thereby causing substantial losses to Our Client.
8. Our Client iterates that your unauthorized use of Our Client’s name, likeness, persona, etc. undisputedly amounts to an infringement of Our Client’s personality rights, right of privacy and intellectual property rights. Your aforesaid unauthorized actions further amount to the tort of passing off and are accordingly liable to be restrained forthwith.
9. In view of the aforesaid, as and by way of last opportunity, Our Client calls upon you to do the following:
(i) Cease and desist from using the name of Our Client, singularly and / or with any suffix, prefix or other word for Your Film and any other project.
(ii) Refrain from using the image, likeness, persona and any other attributes of personality rights of Our Client for Your Film or any other project.
(iii) Furnish Our Client with a written confirmation on the change of title of Your Film and the new title for Your Film.
(iv) Publish an unconditional apology to Our Client in a newspaper of national circulation and circulate the new title of Your Film.
(v) Without prejudice to Our Client’s right to take appropriate legal actions against you, Our Client reserves her right to claim appropriate damages from you, arising out of your: unauthorized use of Our Client’s name thereby violating Our Client’s personality and publicity rights.
In view of the aforesaid, Our Client calls upon you to comply with the aforesaid within 3 (three) days of receiving this notice, failing which Our Client shall be constrained to initiate appropriate legal proceedings against you, which shall be without prejudice to the other rights and remedies available in law to Our Client for the protection, enforcement and preservation of her legal rights, entirely at your risk as to costs and consequences arising thereof.