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The rights of Ray’s Nayak stay with his family, Delhi HC rules

Producers RD Bansal’s family moved to the court against the publishing house. 

The rights of Ray’s Nayak stay with his family, Delhi HC rules
A scene from the film

Last Updated: 10.46 PM, Aug 17, 2023


Satyajit Ray’s Nayak is a treasured asset in the history of Bengali cinema. Ray’s this film with Uttam Kumar and Sharmila Ray was released in 1966. The story is about the rise and fall of a matinee idol, Arindam Mukhopadhyay, played by Uttam Kumar. 

The screenplay was also written by Ray, and the film was produced by RD Bansal. But who has the right to the script? A production house raised the question and went to the court. In May 2023, Delhi Court’s Single Bench declared that the right belongs to Satyajit Ray. The Division Bench of Delhi High Court also confirmed that verdict on Thursday. 

Recently, the publishing house HarperCollins published a novel by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay, based on Nayak’s screenplay. After this, RD Bansal’s family filed a case in court against the publishing house. They claimed that, though Ray was the scriptwriter, the Bansal family has the rights since they were the producer. They claimed that, if any third party writes a novel based on Nayak, then they have to take permission from the Bansal family. 

Then, HarperCollins submitted the NOC of Sandip Ray and the Ray Society. They said that proper permission was taken from Satyajit Ray’s family, and hence, the Bansal family's permission was not needed. Delhi Court's judge C Hari Shankar delivered the verdict on the case last May, asserting that Satyajit Ray, and his family in his absence, are the sole rights-owner. 

Delhi Court said that Satyajit Ray wrote the story and screenplay of Nayak, and the Bansal family did not have any contribution to that artistic work. Hence the right goes to Satyajit Ray, and after his demise, to his son, film director Sandip Ray and the Ray Society. Hence their permission is enough for a third party. Now, the Division bench, comprising Judge Jashwant Sharma and Judge Tushar Rao Gerela, said on Thursday that, according to Chapter 17 of Copyright Law, the right belongs to Satyajit Ray. 

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