Tamil News

‘Payanigal Gavanikkavum’ Makers Receive Legal Notice over Film’s Title; Issue Now Resolved

The makers of the upcoming Tamil film Payanigal Gavanikkavum were sent a legal notice by late Tamil author Balakumaran’s son, on Saturday, asking them to desist from using the title, citing that the rights to it rest with him. However, the issue was amicably resolved on Monday and the film will release with the same title.


The legal notice was issued to Arha Media & Broadcasting Private Limited, the parent company of Aha Tamil, and producer T Vijaya Raghavendra, days before the film’s scheduled release. Payanigal Gavanikkavum is set to premiere on the streaming platform on Friday.

Payanigal Gavanikkavum is an adaptation of the Malayalam film Vikruthi (2019), which was based on real incidents that took place at the Kochi metro. The adaptation is directed by SP Sakthivel and revolves around an incident, where the picture of a sleeping hearing/speech-impaired man was taken by a co-passenger in the metro and was shared online along with a caption that stated that he was drunk. The film’s title is derived from the recurring phrase used in train announcements, the director had said to Silverscreen India earlier.

The legal notice dated Saturday, which was sent by B Venkataramanan alias Surya Balakumaran, stated that his father was a prominent dialogue and screenplay writer who worked on 23 films and also the author of over 294 books and short stories, including one with the title Payanigal Gavanikkavum. After Balakumaran’s demise, Surya had “sole and absolute” rights to all of his father’s works, the notice stated, adding that Surya had acquired the rights not only to all of his father’s books and short stories, but also their titles.

Moreover, on July 14, 2021, Surya had issued a public notice in the newspapers Makkal Kural (Tamil) and Trinity Mirror (English), announcing that he was the “sole and absolute” title and copyright holder of all the works created by his father, including novels, dialogues, screenplay, work titles, short stories, etc.

The legal notice stated that anyone who adopts or makes any film or web series based on his rights would invite civil-criminal proceedings for the same. “Titles, scripts, screenplays, storylines, characters, sketches, the interplay of characters or sequences of events, titles either in Tamil, Hindi or any other languages in the world, which would constitute an infringement of my client’s right,” the notice read. The same was conveyed to the Tamil Film Producers Council, Writer Association, and Tamil Film Active Producers Association, the notice added, and they were asked not to approve any of the 294 titles for any upcoming film or web series.

Surya stated that his father Balakumaran’s book titled Payanigal Gavanikkavum was published in Anantha Vikudan as a weekly series in 1993. The author’s son claimed that the makers of the film Payanigal Gavanikkavum had not obtained consent from him to use that title and had thus infringed upon his rights. Surya also added that the book had won awards and garnered attention, both in Tamil Nadu and internationally, and the distinctive title was “bound to cause confusion” among film enthusiasts and the public, who would be under the impression that he was associated with the Aha Original film.

The legal notice further stated that Surya was an aspiring director, who had planned on directing a film based on his father’s book, and had even written the screenplay and dialogues for the same.


The notice therefore directed the makers of the film to stop using the title, remove posters and public announcements shared on social media within 24 hours, and provide written confirmation about changing the title. Failure to do so would lead to Surya initiating legal proceedings, seeking injunctive relief at court, and claiming monetary damages, it further added.

However, speaking to us on Monday, Surya said that the issue had been resolved. “After we sent the notice, they responded to it immediately. The director and producer met my mother and me this morning at our home. After speaking with us, they also gave us a written apology. We made a few confidential requests and they obliged. We have thus resolved the issues and the film is going to release with the same title since it is ready for release. I am also a filmmaker and I understand the efforts that go into making films.”