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Joy Bose   30 March 2021

Defamation of a real person in movie


My client is a person who has been defamed in a movie. The movie has changed the name of the person and the people related to him but one can easily understand by seeing the movie that it is related to that same person. Can anyone please tell me about any related case laws. 


 2 Replies

sneha jaiswal   22 April 2021

Hello, Greetings of the day!

A statement may be prima facie defamatory and that is so when its natural and obvious meaning leads to that conclusion. Sometimes, the statement may prima facie be innocent but because of some latent or secondary meaning, it may be considered to be defamatory. When the natural and ordinary meaning is not defamatory but the plaintiff wants to bring an action for defamation, he must prove the latent or the secondary meaning, i.e., the innuendo, which makes the statement defamatory. 
In Morrison v. Ritihie & Co.,the defendants in good faith published a mistaken statement that the plaintiff had given birth to twins. The plaintiff had been married only two months back. Even though the defendants were ignorant of this fact, they were held liable.

Hope it helps


Sneha Jaiswal

Paras Dargarh   10 July 2021

Section 499 of Indian Penal Code 1860 defines defamation as whoever in a spoken or written or through visible representations publishes with the intention to harm the reputation of such other person is said to have defamed a person. 

In India defamation is a civil as well as a criminal offense. The plaintiff, if it is a civil suit, may get a remedy under tort or if it is a criminal suit may get a remedy under the Indian Penal Code.  

In Yousoussoupoff v MGM Pictures where the defendants made a film which falsely imputed that the plaintiff has been raped and seduced by Rasputin. It was held that the pictorial depiction of Princess Natasha being raped and seduced by Rasputin per se was enough to constitute the offense of libel. 


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