In the legal notice sent to me, there seems to be an apprehension that the film "Sridevi" is based on a crush I personally had for Sridevi in my college years... I, many times over the last 5 years expressed this publicly in both the media and also to her which was taken by all concerned in a humorous and healthy spirit.
Now coming to the film "Sridevi", the story is about a teenager's infatuation towards a 25 year old woman...a subject matter like this was earlier dealt with, in such films as Malena, Cinema paradiso, Summer of 42, Rajkapoor's Mera Naam joker etc to name just a few... But coming to the film "Sridevi" neither is the woman playing the title role in my film is an actress nor the boy is a director... Also there's a huge age gap between the boy and woman in the film "Sridevi" which is not the case with me and the real Sridevi.
The title has been given to us by the Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber which is the authorised body for such deeds..moreover films with this same title "Sridevi "have been made and released atleast 3 times in the last two decades ...The Film chamber already sent a reply saying that they are well within their rights to grant the title to us.
The film was earlier titled "Saavitri" but we changed it not for reasons of the protests as some sections of the media are falsely reporting... The reason for the change in title is due to a miscommunication on the production part they went ahead with the title without acquiring it from the previous right holder of the title... When the previous title holder refused to give the title we changed it to "Sridevi".After the producer got the title he went ahead with the printing of standees and hoardings with the new title... When Mr.Boney kapoor called me I explained to him both orally and in a message which I have also given to the press with regard to clearing the speculations on the so called controversial content of the subject...
I am deeply hurt by this action of Sridevi whom I always admired and respected and I strongly believe that she was influenced by others with vested interests..I am going ahead with the title "Sridevi" because I am well within my legal and moral rights to use it..legal because a name cannot be copyrighted and also like I said the film has nothing to do with the real Sridevi to the extent that the protoganist is not even an actress...moral because I know in my heart that I will never do anything to degrade or demean Sridevi and the final outcome of the film will prove that...
Ram Gopal Varma
My lawyers reply
Naik Naik & Company,
In response to the notice issued by you vide Sr.No.NN-AND487/2014 Dt.7-10-2014 which was placed before me by my client Mr.Ram Gopal Varma, Film Director and on his instructions I am giving you the following Reply.
The averments made in your notice are false and as such denied except those that are specifically admitted herein.
It is true that your client is a well known actress by her talent in acting and also by name, but it does not mean that your client is having a copy right or monopoly right over the name "Sridevi ".The title of the movie "SRIDEVI" to which my client is associated with,the story of the said movie is not in the lines of a Director and a cine actress, as such the apprehension by your client that the said film is based on the likeness and persona of your client as such is baseless and meaningless and the allegations made against my client in your notice are defamatory and causing damage to the reputation of my client.
It is not correct to say that my client’s film has scenes of immoral/obscene nature. Assuming that any such contents as alleged by your client are there in the film, there is a government appointed authority called “CENSOR BOARD” to monitor the same and it is none of your business to point the same based on media speculations about which my client already issued a clarification.
My client states that it cannot be presumed by your client a film to be made on her life with the title being her name, thereby causing substantial losses to your client..For your information there are 3 films with he same title “SRIDEVI” which have been made and released in the last two decades.
My client furthur states that coming to the point of changing the earlier title of the said film “SAAVITRI” was not because of the controversy and protests as falsely reported by some sections of media, but because of miscommunication on the production part and non reciept of no-objection of the title from the previous right holder of the title “SAAVITRI”.
My client states that in the above said circumstances my client refuses to cease the using of the name “SRIDEVI”, and for the same reasons will not publish an unconditional apology to your client in a news paper of national circulation
Finally my client states that registration of the title of the motion picture “SRIDEVI” has been duly approved by the AndraPradesh Film Chamber of Commerce which is the only authorised body
My client therefore calls upon you to advice your client accordingly and inspite of this reply if your client continues to harass my client then my client will have no option except to initiate necessary action. I advise you and your client to not complicate the issue.