What’s in a name? Well, for most filmmakers it is everything, it can even get actors and technicians interested in a project. But it is difficult to establish ownership over titles and therefore there is the latest controversy in Sandalwood.
The film involved in the latest title-ownership row is Shivarajkumar’s Mass Leader. In 2014, following a dispute with the makers of a Sudeep-starrer, Shivarajkumar’s team chose to change their movie’s title from The Leader to Mass Leader. Unfortunately, Sudeep’s film with Prakash Jayaram did not take off and its producer Raghunath gave away the title to the producers of Shivarajkumar’s film.
But now, stirring up the controversy again is filmmaker AMR Ramesh who approached the Film Chamber few months ago claiming that he had registered the title Leader in 2010 under his banner Vasista Pictures, and had been renewing it every year since then.
In his letter, he wrote, “The script of this movie is complete, and recording of four songs have been done by music director Emil. Unfortunately, we have not been able to finalise on the lead artist, hence the movie shooting has been postponed for the time being.”
According to KFCC rules, prefixes and suffixes to a registered title are not allowed and AMR Ramesh said the producers of Shivanna-starrer are setting a bad precedent. He also claimed that a banner, ‘Tarun Pictures’, was using his title without his consent.
“After 6 months of fighting over the issue, KFCC informed me on March 20 that they have sent a letter advising them not to use the title anymore,” he said.
But the makers of Shivarajkumar’s film, now in Qatar shooting the song sequences, say that there is no trouble over their title. Producer Tarun Shivappa spoke to City Express from Qatar and said, “I don’t understand why AMR Ramesh is fighting over the title because our title is Mass Leader, which we took from writer Ajay Kumar, who had registered it with the KFCC. So there is no basis to Ramesh’s claim that we have used his title.”
Tarun added, “In fact, Raghunath, who had the title The Leader, told us that they have dropped the project and we can use the title. We had even put out an advertisement for Sankranti and that is when AMR Ramesh raised the issue. So we decided to get revert to our old title Mass Leader and we will stick to it.”
Tarun wondered if Ramesh had registered the title in 2010, why he didn’t raise the issue in 2014. “He is sitting on a title and the film has not even taken off,” said Tarun. “Now he wakes up and states that it is his title. He better check with the KFCC about the title registration before advising us.”
Mass Leader is directed by Narasimha and has Pranitha Subhash as the female lead with Ashika Ranganath, Sharmila Mandre and Krishna Vamshi in the cast.