Sukarno's daughter given rights to biopic

JAKARTA - An Indonesian court has awarded the rights to a biopic on Sukarno, the country's founding president, to his daughter Rachmawati Sukarnoputri, bringing an end to her months-long dispute with the film's creators.

The Central Jakarta Commercial Court ruled that the film's producer Raam Punjabi and director Hanung Bramantyo had violated the intellectual rights of the Sukarno family, reported Jakarta Globe.

"The legal process has been going on for three months... Thank God, the judge has decided that the rights to Soekarno: Indonesia Merdeka are mine," Ms Rachmawati was quoted saying at a press conference on Tuesday.

The film, which centres on Sukarno's life up till Indonesia's independence, cost some US$2.5 million (S$3 million) to make.

Ms Rachmawati approached Mr Hanung to direct the film three years ago on the recommendation of prominent Indonesian actress Widyawati.

The 62-year-old, also the younger sister of another former Indonesian president, Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri, had been advising the filmmaker on details of her father's life.

She decided to pull out last June over unhappiness with the casting of Ario Bayu, whom she felt was not "nationalistic" enough to play her father.

Her lawyer Leonard Simorangkir said she will proceed to demand monetary compensation from the filmmakers, although the amount is undecided.

"The movie made a profit," Mr Leonard was quoted as saying by Jakarta Globe. "We want to claim the profit through legal means."

According to the lawsuit though, Ms Rachmawati asked for just a symbolic sum of two rupiah (less than one Singapore cent), besides an apology from Mr Hanung and Mr Raam.

Ms Rachmawati was upset that the film had ruined her late father's character. She had filed a separate defamation suit against the filmmakers with the Jakarta Police last year.

Sukarno, who founded a pro-independence party, was jailed twice by Dutch colonialists.

Even after Indonesia's independence in 1945, his support for the Indonesian Communist Party landed him under house arrest until his death in 1970.

It was only last year that the Indonesian government officially recognised him as a "national hero".

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