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‘3 Idiots’ director Rajkumar Hirani accuses novelist Chetan Bhagat of slander

By TNN (January 04, 2010)

A still from 3 Idiots

Director Rajkumar Hirani is flabbergasted by author Chetan Bhagat’s allegation that 3 Idiots was majorly copied from his bestseller Five Point Someone without giving him due credit. Terming it a “clear case of defamation”, Hirani says they may take legal action against Bhagat for flouting their contract.

“It’s a clear case of defamation because contractually what he (Bhagat) was bound, he was given. Now why is he slandering us? We are consulting our lawyers. But that’s a call Mr. Vinod Chopra has to take. He is the producer of the film,” Hirani told IANS.

“I am sure it’s defamation because lots of people I know are wondering about the issue (due to Bhagat’s allegation) In lots of Twitter and Facebook sites we have been abused saying, ‘we won’t watch Hirani’s film or Abhijat’s film’. This kind of muck is flying all over the place. I think Vinod Chopra is looking into it, I guess he will follow the legal path,” he added.

Hirani clarified that once Bhagat had given the rights to make a film on his book, there shouldn’t be any “percentage issue”.

Hirani maintained that the basic plot of the film is completely different from the book.

“In the book, there is no bet between the two friends, the journey to find their friend is not there, the child delivery scene, the ‘Balatkar’ scene, the two weddings where they crashed these key scenes are not in the book. There are certain similarities, which I am not denying, but we had bought the rights for that.

“We can use 100 per cent of it. What does he (Bhagat) mean by 70 per cent? Are we supposed to pay more money for using 70 per cent? Are we supposed to give different credit for 70 percent? I do not understand this percentage controversy,” said Hirani.

Baghat has reportedly posted a blog saying he should have got a prominent place in the rolling credits. He also said that he was not shown the final script.

Reacting to his allegations, Hirani said: “We have officially bought the rights for the film. We drew a contract with him and it clearly mentions about the position of his credit. With open eyes he had seen the contract, consulted his lawyer and signed the agreement.

“In the contract, we have said that the title would be given in the rolling credits. We haven’t changed the font size. We haven’t increased the speed of the title. It’s exactly there where it was agreed to be,” said Hirani.

The director, who has a hattrick of hits – Aamir Khan starrer 3 Idiots, Munnabhai M.B.B.S. and Lage Raho Munna Bhai, says after signing the contract with Bhagat, they were not obliged to show the script to the author.

“I was not obligated to narrate the script to him. I have bought the script from him and I am supposed to use it the way I want to use it. I had changed the script drastically, so out of good gesture I wanted him to know it has changed so much and if he feels he doesn’t want to be associated with the film, he can tell me.

“He heard the script for four hours and readily agreed to stay associated, saying ‘I want to stay associated with the film, it’s a fine script’ which he has said in your (IANS) interview too. He signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Now he writes in his blog ‘I wanted to see the final script and it was not shown to me’. It is a blatant lie, he is telling,” Hirani added.

Asked if Bhagat could have a vested interest in kicking up the controversy, he said: “I guess there is a motivation to create the controversy so that people read the book and see the film.”

Hirani says that they never relied on controversies to publicise their creative work.

“Our film is doing exceedingly well. It’s beyond my dignity to create a controversy for a film. We have never sold our soul for our cinema. I’m not stooping to that level to sell my cinema or make extra money.

“When you talk of that percentage thing, it creates a curiosity to read that book and judge the film.”

Would he again adapt Bhagat’s book?

“This came as a shock to me that suddenly he is trying to hog the limelight; suddenly he is trying to take away the credit from the screenwriters who slogged for three years to modify the script. He doesn’t understand the difference between book writing and writing for a film. If he continues doing these things, I would rather not associate with him.”

Currently Hirani is working on two scripts with Abhijat Joshi. One among them is Munna Bhai Chale America, while the other one is a completely different plot. He will start shooting either of them by the end of 2010.

YAHOO.COM (January 2, 2010)

The raging controversy over the credit for the story in ‘3 Idiots’ escalated on Saturday with director Rajkumar Hirani accusing author Chetan Bhagat of “lying” despite agreeing to several conditions including a rolling credit in a contract.

Hirani, who also shares the writing credit with scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi in the Aamir Khan starrer, said Bhagat had approved the film’s script and agreed to the condition that it would be different from his book.

Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, Hirani showed the contract signed with Bhagat, whose novel “Five Point Someone” became the basis for the film. The director said he had made a four-hour narration of the script to the author.

“We never denied Bhagat the credit. I am confused as to why is he saying all these things after the film’s release. We have not stolen the story, we have purchased the rights of the book and can modify or change it as per our requirements. There is nothing illegal in it. Chetan is lying,” Hirani said.

He said that as per the contract signed between Bhagat and producers of the film, it was obligatory on part of the latter to mention in rolling credits that the film was based the novel.

“His name appears immediately after the main cast in the rolling credits. If he wanted to see his name in opening part of the film, he should have asked us after reading the contract itself. I am myself a writer and I respect writers,” Hirani said.

Reacting to Hirani’s statement, Bhagat accused the film-makers of abusing the contract.

Agencies
The Chetan Bhagat-3 Idiots spat is playing out like a typical old-fashioned masala Bollywood film

By Mumbai Mirror Bureau (January 02, 2010)


Chetan Bhagat, whose book Five Point Someone, was the starting point of 3 Idiots, is not only amazed that Vinod Chopra and Aamir Khan have not read the book but also that they have been repeatedly saying that the film is only five per cent like the book.

Chetan Bhagat

“Those that haven’t read the book (read Vinod and Aamir) should not be opinionating on it. Those that have read the book and seen the film put the contribution at around 70 per cent,” he says.

Though he has blogged about his disappointment at length, he insists it isn’t about suing them or about the money.

“I have truth on my side,” he says, “Even when Gandhi took on the mighty British Empire with just a small band of followers, he had truth on his side.”

He is just happy that the film has been to the movies what his book was to the book trade… a super hit.

Has it soured Bollywood for him? His answer is an emphatic no. “There are many good people around too.” Chetan’s third book, 3 Mistakes of My Life, is currently being adapted for film by Abhishek Kapoor (Rock On!!) and his fourth, 2 States is being widely courted by directors. “I took the heat when Hello (based on One Night at a Call Centre) failed,” he says, not saying but obviously meaning, why shouldn’t he get the credit for 3 Idiots?

By Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, December 24, 2009 – 18:27 IST

Chetan Bhagat Very few authors have managed to reach out to such a wide audience as Chetan Bhagat. The writer of international bestsellers like ‘5 Point Someone’, ‘One Night @ Call Centre’, ‘3 Mistakes of My Life’ and ‘2 States’ have been widely read and now he is all set to see yet another of his book being made into a film. On the eve of 3 Idiots release, Chetan Bhagat speaks to Bollywood Hungama and talks about why 3 Idiots is a special film, his next big project and lots more.

After ‘One Night @ the Call Centre’, yet another book of yours ‘5 Point Someone’ is all set to be seen in its celluloid version (3 Idiots). How does it feel?
It feels great. This time it’s a far bigger film, the buzz about 3 Idiots is enormous. We have done the right thing by putting the film ahead of us. It’s an incredible feeling to be able to reach out to so many people through the medium of cinema.

Initially I did sit down with Raju and Abhijat while they were deciding to make a film based on ‘5 Point Someone‘. I even went to IIT with Abhijat a couple of times.

The screenplay has been written by Raju Hirani and Abhijat Joshi…Would you have liked to be a part of the screenplay writing process?
Initially I did sit down with Raju and Abhijat while they were deciding to make a film based on ‘5 Point Someone’. I even went to IIT with Abhijat a couple of times. But it was just not possible for me to be involved at every stage of the screenplay writing process since I was in Hong Kong at that time, working full time and busy writing other books. Moreover, Abhijat is based in USA, Raju was in the US for quite a while working on the screenplay but it was not practical for me to do that.

3 Idiots is different from the book but at the same time it does borrow many things from the book. The core theme and message of the film is coming from the book itself.

The question on everyone’s mind is how similar the film is to the book? Raju Hirani says that the film is just 10% of the book….your comments.
I don’t think Raju must have said something like that. In fact I just met him a few days ago and we spoke at length about the film etc. See…’5 Point Someone’ has over the years achieved cult status and has its own loyal fans. I am sure they would like to see each and every moment of the book on the big screen but that is not how the process works. Adapting a book and making it into a film is a relatively new thing in India. The film retains the soul of the book. 3 Idiots is different from the book but at the same time it does borrow many things from the book. The core theme and message of the film is coming from the book itself. And that’s why the makers have officially credited the film as ‘Based on a novel by Chetan Bhagat’

You are but obviously not directly involved with the film and its promotional strategies…does it upset you?
Not at all…at the end of the day I want the film to be a good film and I am happy that a film whose base is generated from my book has generated so much response and is the talk of the town.

Aamir recently was on an innovative promotional spree travelling the length and breadth of the country…what do you think about this marketing strategy?
Chetan Bhagat When you have Aamir Khan, I don’t think anybody else needs to be involved in marketing of the film. Aamir is known for his innovative style of marketing. He will never directly say, ‘Please come and watch my film’ but he will do something that will grab your attention and make you go and watch the film. I am really inspired by his marketing. In fact there is a lesson for a lot of Indian marketing companies on the way Aamir does the marketing of his films.

Moving on from 3 Idiots, how is work coming along on the film based on your book ‘3 Mistakes of My Life’ being made by Excel Entertainment?

I am really inspired by Aamir’s marketing. In fact there is a lesson for a lot of Indian marketing companies on the way Aamir does the marketing of his films.

Abhishek Kapoor (the director) is very conscious of the comparisons that will come between the book and the film and hence we (Abhijit, Pubali Chaudhari and I) are taking great care in writing the screenplay of the film. In fact even today as we speak, I am working on the screenplay of the film based on ‘3 Mistakes Of My life’. We are aware that after Rock On and 3 Idiots, there will be a lot of expectations from people and hence we are working very hard on getting the screenplay right. I think we should be able to finalise it soon and begin casting in a month or so.

Your most recent novel ‘2 States’ was launched a couple of months ago…how has been the response so far?
‘2 States’ has had a fantastic response… easily the best of all the 4 books, that’s because it’s a very universal love story with a good dose of humour. It’s a very good book for a lot of people to relate and enjoy. It also carries a nice message. Especially in the South, the book has done extraordinarily well. I think I have been able to meet my fans expectations which is the ultimate dream for any writer.

2 States‘ has had a fantastic response… easily the best of all the 4 books, that’s because it’s a very universal love story with a good dose of humour.

That book would make for an interesting Bollywood potboiler…any plans to adapt that book into a film too?
There have been many offers but I know that my fans would like me to be involved with only A-grade Bollywood. I don’t want to sell the rights to any filmmaker just for the heck of it. It should go into the right hands so that it emerges as one of the best films of the year

What else are you busy with these days apart from tweeting….the buzz is that you are scripting a film?
Twitter is a great way to stay connected with my fans. Yes…I do want to script a romantic comedy. Abhishek Kapoor has taught me a lot about screenplay writing. The best part about working with Abhishek is that he has shown me how the screenplay language works and also how to use restraint. Rock On was such a film that expressed so much more in spite of being subtle. My books tend to be quite filmy sometimes (laughs). It’s ironical that a filmmaker is telling me to be less filmy but I am forever indebted to Abhishek for teaching me these things about screenplay writing. Now I am hoping that I can do a better job.

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

HITLIST (Mid-Day; January 1, 2010)

The writer has plenty to say about the movie being touted as being different from his book Five Point Someone

Chetan Bhagat is peeved that he has not been given his due credit in Rajkumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots. The film is based on his novel Five Point Someone. The writer has vented his ire ‘A book, a film and the truth’ on his blog (http://www.chetanbhagat.com/).

Here’s an extract….

“The 3 Idiots story credit issue has been making some noise now… and I think it is important I clarify a few things. Clearly, the makers of the film have been unfair and thousands of my readers have been saying so.This is not an issue that has ‘just come up’. I’ve been grappling with it for two years, but kept silent about it.

Wrong claims

The only reason it has surfaced after the movie’s release is because Five Point Someone has a few million readers, and when you copy a popular story claiming it as ‘original’ and ‘completely different’, people are going to find out.

The case is as simple as the makers claiming the story as their own, and clearly it is not. Pre-release, the makers made  statements like  the movie is only ‘very loosely’ inspired by the book….

After release, those who have read the book and seen the movie (and frankly, I think those are the only people who have the right to comment) find the film to be an adaptation of Five Point Someone. Almost all aspects that make up the story are from FPS. Yes, there are some changes, any adaptation requires that — but it is no way an original story. Leading movie critics have privately admitted to me that the film is 70 per cent the book. Still, don’t take my word for it — go read the book, watch the film.

I, frankly, was shocked to see this. This is because I was also fed ‘this is an original movie’ line a lot. I wanted to see the final script — it was never shown to me. I wanted to see the film before release — it was not shown to me (even though trials had been done for  people).  What’s more, the makers had called me to their office and pressured me several times to withdraw my ‘Based on a novel by’ credit, which was by contract. They told me they’d replace it with something like ‘initiated by’ — a credit that doesn’t exist anywhere in the world. I still told them that if the film is indeed original, I’ll happily withdraw the credit, but somehow the promos don’t tell me so. I asked them to show me the film and they fell silent.

Soon, they started doing media promotions for the film, and kept me completely out of it (you’ll never find me in an interview with them). Crores was poured into publicity on shutting me out and cementing the fact that 3 Idiots is not based on Five Point Someone. Ten days before the release, I was called into their office. They said ‘we should be friends now’. I said I am always up for friendship, and the success of the film is good for me as well. They also said, and I quote verbatim ‘even though this is an original film, we have given you a great credit, right upfront. After all, we love writers and a king should treat another king with respect. You are family’. I believed them.

Then I went for the premiere. My family sat in the theatre shocked, as sequence after sequence came from the book. Two per cent means three minutes or so, and I had told my family to look for the few FPS moments and note them. However, there were so many that it became impossible to keep track. The plot was same — people meet at ragging, the first class with definition of machine, the friends separate, Alok (Raju) moves with Venkat (Chatur), Ryan (Rancho) helps Alok’s father, Alok rejoins group, etc, etc. From Alok  (Raju) jumping to stealing the papers and calling out from Cherian (Virus’) office — the book came alive on screen.

However, my family had not spotted my credit in the beginning (there was none) and they were feeling let down. A screenplay associate credit to VVC had a prominent upfront placement. The story credit was not shared with me. And yes, all the office talk of a ‘king treated like king’ was a white lie. I knew they had played with me, and that ‘based on a novel by’ credit, which they were legally bound to give would be hushed away at the end — with the clear intention of making sure people miss it. And indeed, it came after the junior artistes and still photographer of the movie. My mother missed seeing my name, and for that she cried after seeing the film. I told her it doesn’t matter, as people know FPS. But yes, that hurt me a lot.”

The Other Side
3 Idiots director Rajkumar Hirani, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopta and actor Aamir Khan preferred not to comment.
Hrithik Roshan, who used to stammer, delivered a five-and-a-half minute monologue for Guzaarish, compelling Sanjay Leela Bhansali to bracket him in the same league as Amitabh Bachchan

By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 05, 2009)


Sanjay Leela Bhansali is known to be demanding director, but he gives credit where it’s due. According to an eye-witness Hrithik had to recently deliver a five-and-a-half minute-long monologue while shooting for a crucial turning point scene in Guzaarish

It had been broken up into three parts to ease the pressure on Hrithik. As the star launched into it, Bhansali was ready to call for a cut after two minutes. To his astonishment, Hrithik did not stop and delivered the entire monologue in one fluid take.

(L): Hrithik Roshan (R):Sanjay Leela Bhansali

This amazed not only the entire crew, but the director as well. The monologue has Hrithik remembering a woman from his past, before he becomes wheelchair-bound. The intensity stunned everyone on the sets, as it was obvious that Hrithik had worked hard to memorise the part and rehearse it before reaching the sets. Bhansali walked up to the actor and said, ‘What can I say?’

A wary Hrithik thought that he had messed up. Bhansali then gave him the greatest compliment an actor can hope to hear from his director. He said to Hrithik, ‘You are in Bachchan’s league.’ Remember Amitabh Bachchan’s monologue in the climax of Baghban?

This is indeed an accomplishment for a man who used to stammer. Hrithik’s speech problem is known, but he did not let that deter him from delivering the extraordinarily lengthy monologue without fumbling.

Neeraj Pandey refuses to take credit for a small-budget film he wrote before directing the critically acclaimed, A Wednesday

By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 18, 2009)



The Jimmy Shergill-Kim Sharma starrer Khaffa, which has been lying in the cans for over five years will tentatively release on November 27 with a new title, Marega Saala.

After his newfound success as a prominent director with A Wednesday, the film’s scriptwriter Neeraj Pandey refuses to be associated with it because the producers tampered with the original script. When the filmmakers added Neeraj’s name to the credits as the scriptwriter he firmly turned them down.

A source said, “Marega Saala was Neeraj’s first film and he was entirely involved in the direction process. The film was shot in Mumbai and Neeraj was always there as the creative director but he had major differences with the producers. He moved on after the success of A Wednesday.”

Devang Dholakia will now be credited as the director of the film. However, Devang denied any such altercation and said, “Neeraj is a friend and we have been associated for seven to eight years. He had written the story, screenplay and dialogue, for which he has been given credit. There is no issue between us.”

 

Neeraj Pandey

Neeraj though had a completely different story to tell. “God knows what changes the film has gone through in all these years. When I had written this film, it was called Fanaa. The makers changed it to Khaffa and now it is called something else. Now, I am not associated with the film at all as the producers and the director have made several changes. I moved on as I could not adjust. I don’t like to work where I have no creative control. I have not even seen the film,” said Neeraj.

The film’s lead actor Jimmy Shergill said, “I have no issues with anyone associated with the film. Neeraj had initially offered creative help but then he got involved in the making of A Wednesday. I have no clue what went wrong between them.”