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Oscar Films don Ravana's hat to wreck Dashavatar

Legal notice to phoebus says dashavatar is deceptively similar to Dasavathaaram.

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Last Updated: May 30, 2008, 01.32 AM IST|Original: May 30, 2008, 01.32 AM IST
PUNE: Chennai-based Oscar Films Pvt Ltd, promoted by Tamil producer V Ravichandran, has sent a legal notice to a Pune-based animation company Phoebus Media for allegedly using a title that has already been used by the Chennai company.

In a notice sent recently (a copy of which is with ET), Oscar Films��� lawyer has asked Phoebus to stop the release of its film Dashavatar, scheduled for June 13.

Phoebus��� animation film Dashavatar, based on the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu, is the Pune company���s maiden venture and is named similar to Oscar Films��� feature Dasavathaaram, one of the costliest movies being made at an estimated cost of Rs 50 crore. The Tamil picture stars veteran actor Kamal Hassan in 10 roles and also stars Mallika Sherawat in a negative role.

The legal notice addressed to Phoebus says that the title Dashavatar is deceptively similar to the title Dasavathaaram that is registered by OFPL and has called for revocation of the title. However, the Association of Motion Pictures & TV Programme Producer of India (AMPTPP), the authority for film title registration, has already given a no-objection-certificate to Phoebus for the title, a copy of which is also available with ET.

AMPTPP legal advisor Supran Sen refused to confirm the titles allotted to the companies. ���We know that the names are Dashavatar, but I would have to check records to see how they have been allotted. If we have allotted the names, it must be in accordance with laws.���

Phoebus CEO Rahul Bakshi said: ���We had registered Dashavatar with AMPTPP and they had given us a clearance in consultation with the regional authorities. Our film is an animated feature while OFPL is making a feature film. We are in two different categories, so this notice holds no ground. We consulted our legal department and have replied that we will not change our name or plans and will go ahead with the release of the film on June 13.���

Mr Bakshi alleged he was threatened with disruption of his release plans in the South, but has decided to take the challenge head on. ���We were threatened that no theatre in the southern state will be allowed to screen my film. Our marketing team in the South is facing problems even now. But we have taken a stand that if OFPL creates any problem for us in the South, we will not allow it to release its film here,��� he said.

Dashavatar and Dasavathaaram are being made in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi while the animated film will be released in English.

Interestingly, Mr Ravichandran said the animation film posed no challenge or threat to them. ���It is normal for any company to send a legal notice if the product of any other company bears the same name. But, now, we have decided to go ahead with our plans. We are not creating any problems for the animation film. We will release our film on June 13 and soon start our promotions.���

Oscar Films, that has over 25 hit feature films to its credit, will release the film with 1,000 prints in India and abroad.

However, this is not the only conflict that Oscar Films faces. The company is already in a soup over the use of the word ���Oscar��� in its name. Though the company has been using the name for over a decade, the Los Angeles-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, better known for its Oscar Awards, has registered a complaint with the Registrar of Trademark, Chennai, against OFPL.

In an emailed reply to ET, the communication head of the Academy, Leslie Unger, said: ���We have filed two complaints, one for the use of ���Oscar Films��� and the other for the use of a logo that is strikingly similar to the Academy���s Oscar statuette. The Academy believes that the use of these marks by Oscar Films is damaging to our trademark rights and we���re looking in to what further action may be appropriate.���

Mr Ravichandran, however, denied any trademark violation. ���I have been using the name and logo for 15 years and both have been approved by the Indian authorities.���
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