Maula Jatt has been facing legal troubles for quite a while now, which took a dramatic turn today with the emergence of some astonishing documents regarding ownership of the 1979 cult classic. In a series of shocking revelations, concrete evidence has emerged showing that Maula Jatt 1979 is not owned solely by Sarwar Bhatti to begin with. According to a press conference held today at the Lahore Press Club, the film was owned by Bahu Films Corporation which was registered under a partnership deed between 6 parties out of which Chaudhry Jamil and Sarwar Bhatti were the main investors. Until now, Sarwar Bhatti has claimed that the movie was his sole proprietorship and he alone owned all the rights to the film, due to which a series of litigation has followed in the Lahore High Court against director Bilal Lashari and producer Ammara Hikmat of The Legend of Maula Jatt.
This claim was challenged by Chaudhry Muhammad Jamil’s legal heirs who have come forward with proof that Jamil was not only a major investor and executive producer in Bahu Films Corporation but also held the presenting title in all their movies.
They presented legal documents that included the original partnership deed signed in 1978 under which all films that were produced under the banner were the ownership of the corporation and did not belong to any single individual, as fraudulently portrayed by Sarwar Bhatti. Saim Jamil, son of Chaudhry Jamil stated that he is now coming forward after he saw Sarwar Bhatti on media blatantly lying about film ownership.
In a tragic turn of events, Chaudhry Muhammad Jamil was murdered in 1996 after which Sarwar Bhatti made a few attempts to get ownership transfer papers signed by his widow but she refused to give in.
Saim Jamil’s legal counsel Advocate Almas Jovindah stated, “Sarwar Bhatti has been misrepresenting the facts and concealed documents from the court by stating that he owned the original Maula Jatt in sole proprietorship. When infact the movie like many others produced during that time, were the property of Bahu Films Corporation which was a partnership concern. Mr. Sarwar Bhatti has been making many claims regarding the rightful ownership when he himself has not accounted for the rights of the partners in Bahu Films Corporation”.
Jovindah further stated, ” The copyrights and trademark belong to the corporation and not an individual person. Sarwar Bhatti has not settled accounts with the shareholders as agreed in the partnership deed.”
In a clip of a TV interview given by Sarwar Bhatti to a news channel which was shown on the press conference, he stated that the film earned so much revenue it ended up giving billions in taxes. Saim Jamil (son Of Chaudhry Jamil)’s councel argued as to why none of the earnings that were made ever reached Jamil’s family. He stated, “Chaudhry Jamil worked hard for this corporation and gave many years to make movies like Maula Jatt a success. His elder son Saim was only 6 Years old when he was murdered and they could not fight or pursue any legal discourse at that time. How can Sarwar Bhatti make such claims when he himself never gave the rightful owners their ownership or gain from all the earnings he made?”
Chaudhry Jamil owned 25 percent of the shares along with his father-in -law Iqbal Malik who owned 10 percent shares and together the family held 35 percent shares in Bahu Film Corporation. The documents presented in the press conference also included an Income Tax Assesment Order in which Chaudhry Muhammad Jamil was duly recognized as the partner in the Corporation. The legal counsel also further presented a letter by the Pakistan Films Producer Association which stated that Chaudhry Muhammad Jamil was recognised as the feature film producer of Maula Jatt and other movies produced by Bahu corporation.
Sarwar Bhatti has pursued a tumultuous legal route towards claiming that he is the sole owner of the original movie Maula Jatt. These rightful owners of Maula Jatt 1979 have not only challenged Sarwar Bhatti’s Trademark and Copyright certificates but also challenged Intellectual Property Rights Organization of Pakistan in the Sindh High Court for fraudulent issuance of copyright certificates.