Chennai: Decks have been cleared for the release of Tamil film Mersal, starring popular film star Vijay on October 18, the day of Deepavali, with the Madras high court dismissing an application, which sought to restrain the Thenandal Studios Limited and Sri Thenandal Films, from using the word “Mersal” in their upcoming movie. Vacating the interim stay granted earlier, Justice Anita Sumanth dismissed the application arising out of a suit filed by film producer A. Rajendran of AR Film Factori in Villivakkam.
The judge said the present prayer was limited to an allegation of passing off of the title Merrasalaitan with Mersal. The right claimed was in the title of the film, one that admittedly, does not exist as of today. While the applicant would claim to have protected his right over the title by registering it with the Tamil Nadu Film Producers Council, the prayer sought was not one in regard to infringement and rightly so since mere registration of the title with the TNFPC would in any event, not afford any statutory protection in this regard, the judge added.
The judge said it was emphasised that a case for passing off has to establish deception and loss of reputation occasioned by such deception. If one were to test the aforesaid two parameters in the present case, there was not a shred of evidence on record to show that Thenandal Films has exploited the reputation of the applicant in connection with the use of the title in question.
The judge said, “The allegation of passing off is itself made only in respect of a title to a non-existent film as on date. The prayer, for passing off simplicitor, cannot be sustained in the facts and circumstances of the case. The request for an injunction is dismissed and the application stands dismissed”.