US studio Warner Bros on Monday put its Bollywood counterparts on notice that they would sue for breach of copyright if the hit film "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" was remade here.
Advertisements were placed in the Times of India and trade magazines stating that Warner Bros is the joint author and co-owner of the copyright of the period drama, which earned 13 nominations at this year's Oscars.
"Recent press reports have indicated that certain parties are in the process of producing a film in Hindi based upon the aforementioned film," New Delhi-based law firm Lall and Sethi Advocates said in the public notice.
A lawsuit will be slapped on anyone producing a film "either in English or Hindi or other language, having a similar script, screenplay or story line or character sketches or interplay of characters or sequence of events," it said.
The move follows reports that Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai are to star in a film called "Action Replay" directed by Vipul Shah, with a possible release in November.
The Times of India said in a report last month that the film involves Kumar's character going through a reverse-ageing process, "just as Brad Pitt does in Benjamin Button."
India's Hindi-language film industry has a long history of remaking Hollywood movies with virtually identical plots, characters and even musical scores.
Warner Bros, which owns the copyright to the blockbusting Harry Potter movies, last year took the producers of Indian film "Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors" to court, arguing that its name was too similar.
The case was dismissed at a hearing in September.
Lawyer Chander Lall told AFP that as the film industry changes, with US studios making inroads in India and Indian films shown abroad more, intellectual property needs to be protected.
"There's obviously a concern because it (Bollywood) is becoming a competing industry," he said.
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