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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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By Bollywood Hungama News Network, January 1, 2010 – 00:01 IST

Vidya Balan She is the epitome of ‘V’ulnerability, ‘I’ndian-ness, ‘D’earness, ‘Y’outh, and ‘A’ttitude. For those in the know, will surely know whom we are referring to. But for the uninitiated, she is the one and only Vidya Balan, who celebrates her birthday today. Not many know that this Gen-Next’s Dream Girl started her affair with the camera with the Malyalam movie ‘Chakram‘, a film in which she was paired opposite the southern superstar Mohanlal. And as far as the ad world is concerned, it was the Surf Excel commercial that paved the way for the ‘Excel-lent’ actress into the silver screen. And the resultant of this was the Pradeep Sarkar directed Parineeta, a film that gave Bollywood its very own Superstar in Vidya Balan.

Vidya repeated the success of Parineeta with films like Lage Raho Munna Bhai, Guru, Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute To Love, Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Heyy Babyy and the more recent smash hit Paa. Vidya has everything that is required of a Diva. In other words, it becomes totally needless, to say that Vidya is definitely a Diva in the making.

Friends, please join Bollywood Hungama as we wish this Diva named Vidya Balan, a very happy Birthday!

Do post your wishes below!

Nothing can ever mellow Vidhu Vinod Chopra (53) completely but he is certainly more tolerant and accommodating than ever before. In keeping with his wife’s directive to not praise himself or belittle others, he stays within accepted social barriers all through our chat, restricting all caustic comments and pithy observations for when the mike is switched off

By Indu Mirani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 05, 2009)


• You don’t have too many friends? Why?
I value friendship. For me friendship is not a loose word. If I call myself a friend, I am ready to give my life and if need be the friend should do the same.That Bambaiya friendship where people call you a friend on your face and as soon as you turn around they call you a bi*** or a swine is not friendship. I told Karan Johar, ‘I want friends like you; I want to throw a party.’ He said, ‘I can make you social,’ he tried and then he gave up.

He told me nicely, ‘You are happy where you are.’ I have only four friends now, I started with two. Rakesh Maria, Rajesh Parekh (and Firoza Parekh) and slowly I acquired the third friend, Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, but now, I am not sure, I am perhaps acquiring a fourth, which is Aamir. So my house is full now. I mean if I have four friends in this city, I am the luckiest. I now get invited to social dos. We get wedding invitations, we get party invitations. We are invited to places we have never been invited to before.

What do you expect the audience will take away from 3 Idiots?
I could be wrong, but I personally believe that 3 Idiots is a step ahead of Lage Raho Munna Bhai. The other day there was a story in the paper of a kid who had jumped off the 19th floor when her mother was in another room and I told my wife that if this kid had seen 3 Idiots, she wouldn’t have jumped. I genuinely feel that if I had released this film a month ago, I could have saved that one life. I think 3 Idiots will save lives.

• Between Aamir Khan, you and Raju Hirani, if there is a clash of opinion, who wins?
We are very clear about this. Raju is head of creatives. At the moment, Aamir is head of marketing. There is no clash. But as head of the family I believe I have a veto and if I really want to use it, I can. I think the three of us are really the perfect 3 Idiots. I had heard horror stories about Aamir and he had heard the same about me but Aamir is the most unbelievable guy I have met in my life unless I am a fool, and he is performing all the time.  I have only nice things to say about Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Sanjay Dutt and Saif Ali Khan but Aamir is something else. His level of commitment, his level of dedication, his level of affection, his level of seeking excellence is exceptional.

• Have you forgiven Shah Rukh Khan for trying to woo away Raju Hirani?
Oh totally. I called him yesterday to invite him for my premiere and we chatted for half an hour. Life is too short for all this s**t! Khalil Gibran has said, ‘I use hate as a weapon to defend myself.’ To me hate and love are both very strong emotions. I love my wife and if I have the same degree of negative feeling for anybody, then I am giving that person the same importance as I am giving to the woman I love the most in my life. How ridiculous is that?


• You famously said your films reflect the mood you are in. Given the comedies your production house is bringing out like the Munnabhai series, do we conclude you are in a good mood?
Yes, I am in a very happy mood. I sing songs all the time. I think life is really kind to me and I am just very grateful. My little daughter writes poetry which I don’t understand and my son plays cricket with Sachin Tendulkar’s son. God has given me a movie like 3 Idiots, friends and two families, one in cinema and the other at home. I came to this city to make one Hindi movie. If I had died after making one feature film after coming from the village that I came from, I would have died happily.

• Are there any actors you can’t conceive of working with for any reason?
The list is long but to tell you honestly it isn’t about individual actors. It is about attitude. I will not work with actors who have the wrong attitude at this given moment. On the other hand if there is an attitude change, I would willingly work with them.

• What is delaying Munna Bhai Chale Amrika?
If after Lage Raho Munna Bhai we had churned out a Munna Bhai film a year, it would have made Rs 200-250 crores and even if they had been s**t, people would go and see them. But we didn’t and won’t till we are happy with the script. Now we are happy with what we have written and so hopefully we will do it next year.

• Is it tougher to write an original screenplay or adapt a book?
To tell you the truth, I haven’t read Five Point Someone on which 3 Idiots is based. The only person in the team who read it was Raju. But I believe our film is very different. Having said that, the starting point was Raju reading the book.

• If you were given the choice to remake a film with the intention of improving it, which film would that be?
Ram Aur Shyam with Aamir Khan. I love that film and now that I am an admirer of Aamir, I would love to make that film with him. I don’t think he can do it better than Dilip Kumar, who was absolutely superb, but it would be a challenge for Aamir and me.


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