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SRK Gets Court Nod For Remake Of Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi

PTI 15 Dec 2010, 15:34:27 IST
Mumbai High Court has given the green signal to Shah Rukh Khan's production house to remake India's first sitcom, Yeh Joh Hai Zindagi, despite a suit filed by Neha Sharad, the daughter of the original series's writer Sharad Joshi.

The serial, telecast every Friday night on Doordarshan in the mid-80s, starred Swarup Sampat and Shafi Inamdar, and gave India an iconic live-in brother-in-law called Raja, played by Rakesh Bedi.

The series will be called Ghar Ki Baat Hai in its new avatar, and will air on Imagine.

The court, however, directed the producers to maintain accounts in relation to the use of the copyright for Sharad Joshi's scripts, and file these accounts every six months until the suit was finally decided.

Neha Sharad's contention is that Shah Rukh's company, Red Chillies Entertainment, has infringed copyright by using scripts of her father's most famous work.

She has also made the Imagine channel party to the suit, along with Sunanda Oberoi, the original producer of Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi.

Herself a former TV actor, Neha alleges that her father – who passed away in 1991 – had exclusively retained rights to the script and dialogues of the series, and therefore the producer Sunanda Oberoi did not have the authority to permit Red Chillies to remake the show under a different name.

She says that she'd sent a legal notice to Oberoi when she had first heard about plans to remake the serial, and approached the court because she was not satisfied with the reply she had received.

Sunanda Oberoi, in her reply to Neha Sharad's suit, argues that Sharad Joshi and his co–writer, Ajay Kartik, had signed ‘Letters of Arrangement' confirming that copyrights shall vest exclusively with the producers.

They produced these papers in court – dated August 20, 1984; August 6, 1985; and May 5, 1989.

While Neha Sharad's advocate argued that Sharad Joshi's signatures had been procured fraudulently on blank sheets of paper, Justice S C Dharmadhikari ruled that there was no evidence to support this claim.

“It appears from perusal of the originals that on 5.5.89 Oberoi Films had a personal discussion with late Sharad Joshi,” he said.

“The confirmation by Late Sharad Joshi is also appearing in these letters. At this stage, it is difficult to hold that the he had not signed these documents or that they're not genuine”.

Apart from Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, Sharad Joshi wrote serials such as Waah Janab, Singhasan Battissi and Vikram and Vetaal and wrote dialogues for films such as Utsav, Naam and Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin. Also a noted poet and satirist, he was awarded the Padma Shri in 1990.

For the new generation, let's remind: Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi was a popular sitcom on Doordarshan, aired for the first time in 1984, in those 'heady' (?) days of soaps, when cable and satellite channels were non-existent.

It was written by comedy writer Sharad Joshi and directed by S S Oberoi and Raman Kumar. The episodes revolved around the life of Ranjit Verma (played by Shafi Inamdar), his wife Renu Verma (played by Swaroop Sampat) and Renu's unmarried and unemployed younger brother Raja (Rakesh Bedi).

A trademark of the show was Satish Shah who played a different character in each episode. In later episodes, but his 'thirty years ka experience hai' was a popular dialogue, Anjan Srivastav also joined the show, playing different characters.