LAHORE – Bilal Lashari’s The legend of Maula Jatt is one of the most anticipated Pakistani films featuring the Humsafar couple Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan along with Hamza Ali Abbasi and Humaima Malick in lead roles.

The trailer of the movie is already out and received a wonderful response by the audience from all over Pakistan but prior to the release, there is an intense legal battle going on over copyright disputes between original Maula Jatt‘s producer Sarwar Bhatti and remake’s production team.

Last month, Mr. Bhatti had resurfaced with a new claim that he had attained a stay order from court over Maula Jatt, however, Intellectual Property Tribunal of Lahore (presided by Judge Khalid Mehmood Bhatti) vacated the stay order in producer Ammara Hikmat and Director Bilal Lashari’s favor months ago.

On Monday, human rights activist and Barrister Hassaan Niazi tweeted that, after a strenuous fight for rights and struggle, the original copyrights of the 1970’s classic hit are being handed over to Sarwar Bhatti and Niazi. He also mentioned that the Maula Jatt’s remake producer Bilal Lashari had taken the movie copyrights ‘By Force’:

A TradeMark registry can also be seen in the above tweet. The notice states that the copyrights to the chromatographic work are only authorized by Muhammad Sarwar Bhatti.

Social media had mixed reactions to Niazi’s post:

Bhatti, who produced the original Maula Jatt which came out in 1979, had filed a suit before the Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan’s (IPO) tribunal last year seeking an injunctive order against the exhibition of Maula Jatt being directed by Bilal Lashari. He claimed to possess the rights of the movie, including title and cinematography.

The tribunal forwarded the case to the Federal Investigation Agency for inquiry and sought replies from Bilal Lashari, and later the IPO rejected Bhatti’s claims. A document is being attached below issued by IPO, which clearly states, “No any violation of the CRO 1962 has been committed by the Encyclopedia Lashari Films [producers of the upcoming Maula Jatt],” further stating, “The cinematic work [in Bilal’s Maula Jatt] is actually very derivative work.”

In 2014, Bilal Lashari announced that he would be directing Maula Jatt saying: “This will be my take on Gandasa films which are blamed for the death of Lollywood. I think the Gandasa genre was a missed opportunity for Pakistani cinema, and what better choice to utilize it then by paying homage to the cult classic Maula Jatt.”

The film is also the most expensive Pakistani movie. The Legend of Maula Jatt will hit theatres next Eid and is going to be the first Pakistani film to release on the same day in China and Pakistan.

Till now Bilal Lashari has not responded to Niazi’s claims. Stay tuned for more updates.