PLA­GIA­RISM CARD PLAYED RIGHT?

We look at the trend of writ­ers mak­ing a noise about ‘their work be­ing lifted’ just be­fore a film’s re­lease

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - Prashant Singh prashant.singh@htlive.com

Ac­tor Ak­shay Ku­mar’s film, Toi­let: Ek Prem Katha, is ready for re­lease next month. But here’s what, a doc­u­men­tary maker named Praveen Vyas has al­leged that the idea be­hind the film has been lifted from his 2016 doc­u­men­tary, Manini. The mak­ers of Toi­let... re­fute the claim. They say that they had reg­is­tered the script with the Film Writ­ers Association in Au­gust 2014, and that the script was com­mis­sioned to them by film­maker Neeraj Pandey back in 2013.

It seems there’s a pat­tern here — of writ­ers stak­ing claim to a film’s cen­tral idea, es­pe­cially the ones near­ing re­lease. But rarely have they ever won a case.

Writer Akasha­ditya Lama had moved court against Mo­henjo Daro (2016), claim­ing rights over the film’s story. Films such as Dhoom:3 (2013) PK (2014), and this year’s Phillauri, Raabta and Hindi Medium, too, went through a sim­i­lar or­deal.

“We are the soft tar­gets. In this case, a vic­tim, too,” says Toi­let... pro­ducer Shi­tal Bha­tia, adding, “This is ha­rass­ment. These writ­ers know that by do­ing such a stunt, they will get in­stant me­dia at­ten­tion. We should make a counter-claim and sue them back.”

Hindi Medium direc­tor Saket Chaud­hary, too, is con­fi­dent of his film. “We have re­search and doc­u­ments to prove that the film is based on orig­i­nal ma­te­rial. The pro­duc­ers are deal­ing with it in court,” he says.

Trade an­a­lyst Amod Mehra agrees that “be­sides money, writ­ers of­ten do this for a few min­utes of fame”. So, what’s the way out? “Mak­ers should sue the com­plainant. This way, oth­ers will also be scared. Laa­ton ke bhoot ba­ton se nahi maante,” Mehra con­cludes.

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