After its team meeting with soccer legend Carles Puyol, The Legend of Maula Jatt is back in the news once again courtesy the long-going legal battle being waged by Bahoo Films. It seems whatever legal proceedings Bahoo Films is taking is simply building into the film’s buzz. The situation seems to be somewhat reminiscent of Shoaib Mansoor’s Verna, the release of which was thrown into uncertainty following censorship issues. The entire issue upped the buzz quite substantially and Verna went on to score an unexpectedly strong initial.
Back to legal update, on March 18 Lahore High Court (LHC) issued a verdict, which asks the respondents i.e. Bilal Lashari and The Legend of Maula Jatt’s team to refrain from “acting unauthorizedly.” HIP got in touch with producer Ammara Hikmat’s lawyer Ahmad Pansota to shed some light on these legal semantics.
Mr Pansota was quite firm in saying “The order does not stop us from releasing the movie in any manner whatsoever, first of all. Secondly, that order just says that respondent i.e. The Legend of Maula Jatt will stop or refrain from doing things ‘unauthorizedly’, so that means we are not supposed to do anything illegal. Which further merits an explanation since we have never done anything illegal in the past nor do we plan to do anything illegal.”
According to Mr Pansota, the complainant Sarwar Bhatti of Bahoo Films has been misrepresenting the order to the media. “The other party, what they are doing is that they have picked up this word and placed it somewhere in the middle of the sentence changing the entire meaning of the sentence. There is a difference between restraining somebody from an unauthorized act and restraining someone from acting authorizedly,” explains Mr Pansota.
Elaborating further, Mr Pansota says the film’s team has all the required documentation to ensure a smooth release. “We have a copyright certificate in place, we have a court order whereby the stay was vacated to use the word The Legend of Maula Jatt, we have all the censorship certificates except the final censorship certificate. So apart from that, anything and everything for release for the movie is with me.”
Mr Pansota asserts that the order is just being blown out of proportion, and is being misquoted and misreported, adding “When this order was being passed, we told the court we have a valid copyright certificate in place, so the court in response to that said if you have a certificate then there is no problem for you, then there is nothing unauthorized in what you are doing.”
It seems The Legend of Maula Jatt team is pretty confident of the law being on their side. And it has to be added that the nearer the court battle drags to the film’s release, the greater benefit it will entail for its buzz. While we refrain from taking any side in this court battle, HIP sincerely wishes the final legal verdict goes to benefit the cause of Pakistani cinema.