Rakeysh Mehra’s new film faces dis­pute

Manoj Mairta, given credit as co­writer, wants a lot more

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - City - - ENTERTAINMENT - Shreya Mukher­jee shreya.mukher­jee@htlive.com

Writer Manoj Mairta claims that he hasn’t been given due credit for the film Mere Pyare Prime Min­is­ter, di­rected by Rakeysh Om­prakash Mehra. Ac­cord­ing to Mairta, he wrote the story, screen­play and di­a­logues. Ini­tially, he wasn’t even given the credit for the story, which, he adds, the team did later. Mairta reached out to Mehra and also ap­pealed to the Screen­writer’s As­so­ci­a­tion (SWA). Mehra, in his de­fence, claims that Mairta has made “de­fault rep­re­sen­ta­tion” and ap­proached film as­so­ci­a­tions.

“I had writ­ten the story in 2012... The ini­tial ti­tle that I reg­is­tered was Seven RCR, and I started ap­proach­ing var­i­ous film­mak­ers, in­clud­ing Nitin Kakkar, Aanand L Rai, Anub­hav Sinha, Rakeysh Om­prakash Mehra…,” says Mairta, who was at that time as­sist­ing writer to Dilip Shukla for Da­bangg 2 (2012).

Mairta shares that in 2014, he changed the ti­tle to My Dear Prime Min­is­ter, and by then, Mehra also showed in­ter­est in the film. “[Mehra] liked the idea and said he will make it, but [he] got busy with Mirzya (2016),” Mairta adds, “He again asked me to meet me in early 2015. Later, he asked me to re­work the script, which I did. He replied say­ing that he might make a few changes... and I agreed. Shoot­ing started in 2017 and as far as I knew, they made only a few cos­metic changes. But when the film pro­mo­tions first be­gan, I wasn’t given any credit. In in­ter­views, Mehra said that I only con­trib­uted a one-line story idea and the rest was writ­ten by him. I con­tacted Mehra and he gave me credit for the story, but no credit for screen­play and di­a­logue. I ap­proached SWA and their ver­dict was in my favour.”

We con­tacted Mehra, and he states, “[Manoj] has made a de­fault rep­re­sen­ta­tion at SWA. There is an­other writer in ques­tion, Hus­sain Dalal. If you look at our IMDB post, he is there as the writer [for the film]. All will be re­solved.”

Vinod Ran­ganath, mem­ber of SWA’S ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, and chair­per­son of the Dis­pute Set­tle­ment Com­mit­tee, who took the call on Mairta’s is­sue, says, “Yes, Manoj ap­proached us and af­ter a proper in­ves­ti­ga­tion, we con­cluded that he should be given the first credit for screen­play and di­a­logue. It’s true that the story, script, screen­play and di­a­logues have been writ­ten by Manoj. It is also true that Mehra had made sub­stan­tial changes, but that was done on what Manoj had given. We had called Mehra for a meet­ing, his CEO came and we dis­cussed ev­ery­thing. Af­ter giv­ing our ver­dict, we said that they could chal­lenge it within a month. But they took four months to get back [to us].”

Ran­ganath added that Mehra and his team had fol­lowed all the le­gal­i­ties of sign­ing a con­tract with Mairta and paid his re­mu­ner­a­tion.

Ashoke Pan­dit, pres­i­dent of the In­dian Film & Tele­vi­sion Di­rec­tors’ As­so­ci­a­tion, con­firms that they and the In­dian Mo­tion Pic­tures Pro­duc­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion have been ap­proached. “We’ve al­ready formed a com­mit­tee, who will check both the ver­sions and then take a call in a week’s time,” he adds.

PHOTO: TWIT­TER/RAKEYSHOMMEHRA

Manoj Mairta ; (above) A poster of Mere Pyare Prime Min­is­ter

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