|Karishma Kapoor on the sets of the serial, Karishma — The Miracle of Destiny. (PTI)
Calcutta, May 8: Bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford flew down from New York to Calcutta to stop a multi-crore television serial starring Karisma Kapoor, alleging copyright infringement.
Produced by Sahara Media Entertainment, Karishma — The Miracle of Destiny was to make its debut next Monday.
Taylor Bradford filed a petition in Calcutta High Court, claiming that the serial had plagiarised her highly successful novel, A Woman of Substance, lifting the plot and characters.
Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh passed an ex parte order restraining Sahara from telecasting any episode of its serial.
Sahara learnt about the case today. “It is too premature to say anything now,” a Sahara spokesperson said.
Taylor Bradford and her film producer husband, Robert Bradford, were here for the past two days appointing top lawyers to plead their case. She answered a call from The Telegraph, but said she would speak only through her lawyers.
“I am not interested in making any comment,” said the author of 18 books that have sold 70 million copies.
Dressed in a light-blue trouser suit, she was in court for the 45-minute proceedings. Why she chose Calcutta is a question troubling the legal fraternity.
The couple, who lives in a plush apartment in Manhattan, left the city in the evening. The five lawyers they had hired refused to speak, too. They said their client had instructed them not to divulge any documents or comment on the case.
Justice Ghosh appointed two special officers and asked them to make an inventory of all the material relating to the serial — the story outline, script, master tapes and compact discs. The court will hold its hearing on Tuesday, when Sahara’s lawyers are expected to be present.
A battery of lawyers, appearing for Taylor Bradford, argued that their client had never given permission to any person or any company to make or produce a serial based on A Woman of Substance.
The lawyers claimed that the producer of the serial, Akashdeep, had publicly admitted in Calcutta that it was based on Taylor Bradford’s novel.
In A Woman of Substance, first published in 1979, Emma Harte, the protagonist, a Yorkshirewoman, rises from her impoverished state to become a successful businesswoman, turning a small shop into the world’s greatest department store.
Sahara sources said they had “no clue” to the legal twist that was not quite part of the script of the serial that was to have a 260-episode run with Karisma in a double role, spanning three generations. She begins as a 22-year-old to emerge as a successful businesswoman.
Sanjay Kapoor, Arbaaz Khan, Jugal Hansraj and Tinu Anand are part of the cast of the serial which has 52 songs composed by Anu Malik. With Karishma — The Miracle of Destiny, Sahara Manoranjan had meant to take on the big screen. It was to be the first of several blockbusters featuring frontline stars, Amitabh Bachchan topping the list.
Karishma, Sahara had hoped, would work a miracle for its popularity ratings. Taylor Bradford’s appearance on the scene is a miracle it hadn’t bargained for.
By all accounts, she seems to share at least one quality of the woman of substance she created: indomitable. She started her career as a newspaper typist at the Yorkshire Evening Post to become a highly successful romance novelist.