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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.

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YAHOO.COM (January 2, 2010)

Mumbai, Jan 2 (IANS) Director Rajkumar Hirani Saturday produced the credits agreement with author Chetan Bhagat for hit film ‘3 Idiots’ and maintained that the movie was not a copy of the bestseller ‘Five Point Someone’.

Hirani distributed copies of an agreement of credit and a non-disclosure agreement signed by Bhagat Sep 1, 2005 and Oct 3, 2007 respectively. Screenplay writer Abhijat Joshi was also present at the media meet.

‘It shall be obligatory on the part of the producer to accord credit to the author in the rolling credits… as under – Based on the novel ‘Five Point Someone’,’ the agreement on the issue of credit states.

The non-disclosure agreement was signed after Hirani gave a ‘four-hour narration’ of the final script to Bhagat, the director said.

Hirani also supported his argument by giving a copy of an interview that Bhagat gave to IANS Sep 26, 2008 titled: ‘I liked the final script of ‘Three Idiots’: Chetan Bhagat.’

‘The director took my book as the base but he has changed it according to his requirements. He took permission from me before taking my story but has not involved me in making it into the final script. But he has shown me the final script and I have liked it too,’ Bhagat had told IANS.

The credit row surfaced after Bhagat had posted on his blog that ’70 percent’ of ‘3 Idiots’ is based on his book and therefore he should have got a prominent place in the rolling credits as well as during the film promotion. He also said that he was not shown the final script.

Producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra has said that as per their agreement, Bhagat’s name appeared in the rolling credits and he was paid the due amount.

Hirani, who has helmed movies like ‘Munnabhai MBBS’ and ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’, also pointed out that the producer had bought the rights of ‘Five Point Someone’.

Hence, it was their prerogative whether to use ‘five percent of the book or 70 percent of it’.

By IANS (Mid-Day; December 26, 2009)

Vishal Bhardwaj’s production venture “Ishqiya” faced the censor board’s ire for using the word ‘sex’ in its promos. But the ban has been lifted, giving respite to the producers.

The film has a scene where actor Arshad Warsi uses the three letter word, but it did not go down very well with the censor board.

Bhardwaj and his co-producers managed to convince the board members that the word was needed, and they finally gave their nod.

“It was initially decided that the word would be beeped and we gave an application for it to the revising committee, that comprises six-seven members. We had to convince them and make them understand that the word is essential for the film and the dialogue,” Mansi Maroo, co-producer of the film, said on phone from Mumbai.

With the censor board’s approval, the producers will re-launch the promos with the word audible.

“The dialogue lost its impact because of the ‘beep’ and now our whole plan has been delayed. In order to rectify things, we will have to re-do the scene and launch another promo with the word audible,” she said.

Asked if Bhardwaj too accompanied the other producers to the meeting with the censor board, Maroo added: “Vishal did not go for the meeting but he did have talks with the censor board people.”

Set in eastern Uttar Pradesh, “Ishqiya” is a tale of romance between individuals caught in a web of crime, suspense, passion and deceit. Directed by debutant Abhishek Chaubey, the film also stars Naseeruddin Shah and Vidya balan in pivotal roles.

Maroo also revealed that such procedures create hindrance in the film’s promotion.

“We have lost two-weeks of right promotion.”

“However, we are glad that finally we were heard and our job was done,” she added.

IANS tried to contact censor board chief Sharmila Tagore, but she was not available.

“Ishqiya” is slated to release Jan 29.

By IANS (Mid-Day; December 17, 2009)

Model-VJ Gauhar Khan says she believes playing the lead does not mean being paired romantically opposite the hero but being integral part of the film’s plot.

She plays a receptionist of Ranbir Kapoor’s sales office in ‘Rocket Singh – Salesman of the Year’ which released last week.

Gauhar says that even though she is not romantically paired opposite Ranbir, she has most of her scenes with the Bollywood’s latest heartthrob. “our characters shared a close bond in the film,” she said.

Gauhar was participating in ‘Jhalak Dikhla Ja’ reality dance show when she was called for auditions for the film. “I went through five auditions before being selected for the role of Koena, a middle class fashionable girl, in the film. She is naive and also emotional. There were many layers in the character and I got an opportunity to showcase my acting skills,” Gauhar said.

Filmmaker Yash Chopra complimented me for my performance and that was the icing on the cake amid all adulation and good reviews, she said. ‘Rocket Singh’ is writer Jaideep Sahani’s vision and executed by director Shimit Amin, Gauhar said adding that playing her character in the film was tough but the duo made it easier. “They made me aware of the depth of Koena’s character,” she said.

Gauhar hopes to be romantically paired with Ranbir in future. “He is a calm and a good person and a thorough professional,” she said.

The actress says she has firmly set her sights on Bollywood and was looking for work to improve her performing abilities. “Only talent matters in this industry,” she said.

Gauhar has come a long way from being a model, VJ and has put the infamous wardrobe malfunction at Lakme Fashion Week couple of years ago behind her. She said she is looking forward to play performance oriented lead roles.

MID-DAY

By IANS (December 18, 2009)

Actor John Abraham is deeply attached to the idea of wildlife conservation. So it comes as no surprise to know that he will now produce a film on tiger preservation to be directed by internationally renowned filmmaker Mike Pandey.

The documentary film entitled “The Return Of The Tiger” will address the alarming disappearance of the species.

“I decided to produce the film because I truly believe tigers are one of the most magnificent creatures on this planet. And if we don’t take quick and immediate action to preserve them there will be no tigers left,” John said.

Through the film, which will be screened in the documentary section of film festivals and at wildlife-preservation summits, John and Pandey hope to create a certain amount of global awareness about the urgent need to preserve the tiger.

“This film is far too important in terms of its message. I decided to produce it after I met Mike Pandey. He’s such a lovely man, so committed to capturing the essence of nature on camera. I just decided to get committed to Mike’s level of commitment,” said John who wowed everyone with his performance in “New York”.

MID-DAY

After playing an ideal mother in ‘Paa’, Vidya Balan says she is ready to surprise audiences with a completely different avatar in forthcoming movie ‘Ishqiya’. She will be seen as a conniving, scheming woman in Vishal Bharadwaj’s dark drama.

My character in 'Ishqiya' oozes sensuality: Vidya Balan

“For the first time I’ll be playing a woman who is conniving, scheming and in whom there is a sexual aggression,” Vidya told us in an interview.

“She is an aggressive person. She is someone who is unapologetic about her own choices. Bold is the word I’ll use for the lack of a better word. In the Indian context, she would be Rambha, Durga or Kali. She is someone who is dressed from top to toe but oozes sensuality,” the actress said.

Set in eastern Uttar Pradesh, ‘Ishqiya’ is a tale of romance between individuals caught in a web of crime, suspense, passion and deceit. Made by first time director Abhishek Chaubey and produced by Bharadwaj, the film also stars Arshad Warsi and Naseeruddin Shah in pivotal roles.

In the film, Vidya sports a deglamourised look and mouths expletives.

Asked if Bharadwaj was the reason she signed ‘Ishqiya’, she said: “It’s always very reassuring when the producer is an established guy because when you take a film, you want to know that no compromises will be made while making the film and even after it gets released.

“Of course Vishal comes with a certain brand and credibility…but more importantly I loved the role offered to me. I wouldn’t have given it up. Along with that I loved Abhishek’s passion and sensibility. So it was a combination of all these things when I made my decision.”

The 31-year-old is also looking forward to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Chenaab Gandhi’ in which she plays Amitabh Bachchan’s daughter.

After receiving flak for doing glamorous roles, Vidya has moved to author-backed characters in ‘Paa’, ‘Chenaab Gandhi’ and ‘Ishqiya’. But she says her choice of roles is not a conscious effort to change her image.

“It’s not a conscious decision to try and stay away from a particular kind of roles. There is no effort for an image change. It’s just that I’m just being offered a lot of exciting work and I’ve tried to pick and choose different things to keep it very exciting for me,” she said.

“Of course, candyfloss is still welcome if it comes with substance, but the very fact that it’s candyfloss takes away the substance. So I don’t do that much candyfloss because it compromises on substance,” added the actress.

Vidya has earlier been seen in films like ‘Parineeta’, ‘Heyy Babyy’, ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’ and ‘Kismat Konnection’.

Source: IANS

Two prominent Bollywood filmmakers — Manmohan Shetty and Bobby Bedi — have spoken against multiplexes and the high price of tickets, saying these two factors could destroy the industry.

Multiplexes killing Bollywood, say filmmakers

“The main culprit to bring down Bollywood are multiplexes,” said Shetty, who started the trend of multiplex cinema chains.

“The tickets are priced so high that people who used to watch the movies by paying Rs.30 to Rs.40 are not coming to cinema halls anymore,” Shetty said at a conference, ‘India – The Big Picture’, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

“With high budgets and high priced tickets at multiplexes, film business has become difficult,” he added.

Shetty, who produced movies like ‘GangaaJal’, also said the fees charged by stars have made movie production a tricky business.

“Even though film producers spend Rs.10-15 crore on promotion of films, it is difficult to recover the amount,” he said, adding that a star like Akshay Kumar, who earlier used to charge Rs.1 crore now commands Rs.25 crore.

Film producer Bobby Bedi, in his address at the same conference that was organised on the occasion of the 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India, equated high priced tickets to the Frankenstein monster that would soon “eat us all up”.

“By pricing the tickets high, the industry has created a monster which will eat us all up like Frankenstein,” said Bedi, whose Kaleidoscope Entertainment has produced blockbusters like ‘Saathiya’, ‘Maqbool’ and ‘Bandit Queen’.

“The need today is for us to lower the ticket prices and the cost of production,” he added.

“We shout from the rooftop about making 1,000 films in India every year. But only 84 films out of the 400 films are hits. What happens to the rest of the films and the money invested in them,” he asked.

Bedi also blamed the entry of corporate sector into film business for the unprecedented upswing in production costs and skyrocketing fees of stars.

“For ‘Mangal Pandey’, Aamir Khan was paid a princely sum of Rs.4 crore. In five years, the price could have a zero added to it,” he said.

“Corporates came into the film industry with pots of money. Now that they have made losses, they are exiting the market. Today, corporates are bleeding from the wounds they themselves inflicted.”

Source: IANS


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