'Hari Puttar' beats 'Harry Potter'

MUMBAI, India (AP) - September 23, 2008

"Hari Puttar" is set to hit cinema screens this week after an Indian court rejected a Warner Bros. suit claiming the name was too close to its Harry Potter series.

The court said in its ruling Monday that people who have watched the Harry Potter movies and read the books would know the difference between that and an Indian Punjabi film called "Hari Puttar - A Comedy of Terrors. "

The producers, Mirchi Movies, said the Puttar movie bore no resemblance to the famous boy wizard franchise. Hari is a common name in India and Hindi for God, while "puttar" is Punjabi for son.

"It's clearly great to have won this case," Munish Purii, Mirchi's chief executive told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "We are hoping for a good release although the timing of the Warner case distracted us from marketing."

Warner Bros. spokeswoman Deborah Lincoln said the company was reviewing the judgment.

"We brought these proceedings because we believe that the proposed title and marketing of the defendants' film infringed our intellectual property rights," Lincoln said in an e-mail.

Lincoln said the Hari Puttar producers wanted to "confuse consumers and benefit from the well-known and well-loved Harry Potter brand."

"Hari Puttar" is not a tale of magic, but the story of an Indian boy and his cousin forgotten at home in Britain where his family has recently moved - in a plot more reminiscent of the film "Home Alone." In the Indian film, 10-year-old Hari Puttar must guard his scientist father's top security computer chip from bumbling burglars, while his parents are away.

Purii said "Hari Puttar" would be released across India on Friday and globally next month.

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