Bikramjeet Singh Bhullar Vs Yash Raj Films Private Limited & ORS.

Posted On - 24 January, 2024 • By - King Stubb & Kasiva


The Plaintiff, Bikramjeet Singh Bhullar, filed a copyright infringement suit before the Delhi High Court claiming that the Defendant’s movie, Shamshera, violates his copyrighted script titled ‘Kabu na chhadein Khet’ (KNCK). The Court allowed the suit but dismissed the application seeking interim injunction against the Defendant to prevent them from making, producing, distributing, broadcasting, communicating to the public, adapting, telecasting, exhibiting in theatres, and/or on television and/or online platforms, their film “Shamshera” (Impugned Film).


The Plaintiff claimed that he had come up with the concept for an 18th-century period drama back in 2006. Later, the idea was trimmed down to a 10-minute cinematography short film in 2009. With the narration by famous late actor Om Puri, the movie was also shown at the Toronto Spinning Wheel Film Festival.

As per the Plaintiff, he had shared his script and idea with the filmmakers and writers of the film “Shamshera,” and that they were very much intrigued by his work. However, the Defendants later backed out saying that they were no longer interested in the script and did not wish to proceed further with the project in 2017.

Following the release of the “Shamshera” trailer on YouTube in June 2022, Plaintiff found out that his work had been heavily imitated. He therefore requested relief from the Court.

Both tales, according to Plaintiff’s counsel, centre on retaliation, captivity, and two father-son generations. While the protagonists struggle for freedom, the adversaries in both stories are savage, foreign invaders who pillage and loot the town.

It was the Defendants argument that The Defendants said that copyright protection cannot apply to themes, storylines, or ideas.


  1. Whether the script or screenplay which was shared by Plaintiff is apparently same to the movie Shamshera?
  2. Whether there are similarities which can prove that it is a copyright infringement?
  3. Whether the Plaintiff was able to make out prima facie case of the copyright infringement?

Court’s observation

  1. The Court observed that the dissimilarities between the script and the film outweigh the alleged similarities and the similarities by themselves are not sufficient to raise a presumption of copyright infringement at this stage in favour of the Plaintiff.
  2. According to the Court the access alone cannot be a ground to come to a conclusion that there is copyright infringement and Plaintiff will require to establish substantial similarity albeit even if the Plaintiff fails on the question of access, he may succeed if substantial similarity is established but the converse cannot be accepted.
  3. The Court was unable to reach a prima facie conclusion at this stage that Defendants have substantially copied the script of the Plaintiff to make the impugned film. Plaintiff has been unable to make out a prima facie case of copyright infringement and thus no relief can be granted in favour of the Plaintiff injuncting the Defendants from continuing with the telecast of their film on the OTT Platforms.


The Court rejected the application of interim injunction citing that the balance tilts in favour of the Defendants. As per the Court, the point of irreparable harm and injury also goes in favour of the Defendants.


The “Idea-Expression” Dichotomy says that an idea such as the movie’s plot, theme or the genre cannot be copyrighted. In this case also the Plaintiff has filed the case because his theme and genre of the drama is taken by the Defendant. There can be coincidence that the idea can be same but presentation of it is different.