'Gulabo Sitabo' writer Juhi Chaturvedi accused of plagiarism
Screenwriter Juhi Chaturvedi has been accused of plagiarising the script of her upcoming movie Gulabo Sitabo. Advocate Rizwan Siddiqui, on behalf of late writer Rajeev Aggrawal's son Akira, has sent a legal notice to the makers of the film and also filed a complaint at Mumbai's Juhu Police Station. Gulabo Sitabo is scheduled to release on Amazon Prime Video on June 12. Here's more.
The script was allegedly copied during a writing competition
According to Siddiqui, Aggrawal took part in a scriptwriting competition in 2018, organized by the Screenwriters Association (SWA). Juhi was one of the judges at the contest. He claimed that all jury members had access to the submitted scripts, and Aggarwal's work was copied at that time. He added that they were shocked to find similarities between Aggarwal's story and the Gulabo Sitabo trailer.
SWA was also approached for mediation in the matter
The lawyer informed that they had also approached the SWA for mediation in the matter, and the association then asked Juhi to show her script. He further claimed that Juhi denied that she had access to the submitted scripts during the said competition. Meanwhile, according to Gulabo Sitabo's production house Rising Sun Films, the SWA ruled in favor of Juhi on May 29.
Rising Sun Films came out in Juhi's defense
In response, Rising Sun Films defended Juhi, saying that her concept for the film was finalized before the said contest. They claimed that Juhi never received a copy of the "supposedly copied script". "Lastly, our film's story is different from that sent out in the notice. It is surprising how grave allegations are being made solely on the basis of a...trailer," they added.
'These baseless allegations only create unnecessary controversy'
"On May 29th, SWA ruled in favor of Juhi. Clearly the allegers are upset as the SWA decision didn't go in their favor. Releasing the notice to the press, harassing us on social media, seems to be a deliberate attempt to malign Juhi and damage the film," the makers added. "We request the press to stand by us," they concluded.
What is 'Gulabo Sitabo' all about?
Directed by Shoojit Sircar, Gulabo Sitabo tells the story of Mirza, a 78-year-old landlord of an old and depleted mansion in Lucknow, and Baankey, his shrewd and sly tenant. The movie stars Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana in lead roles. Vijay Raaz and Brijendra Kala also feature in supporting roles. Juhi has previously written acclaimed films like Vicky Donor, Piku, and October.
Earlier, the film's digital release triggered controversy
Gulabo Sitabo is the first-ever big-ticket Bollywood movie to release directly on a streaming platform. The decision was taken as theaters remain indefinitely shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the move did not sit well with movie exhibitors. Major theater owners like PVR and INOX slammed the makers, with the latter even warning of "retributive measures". Later, the Producers' Guild defended the decision.