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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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Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; January 3, 2010)


Mumbai: The 3 Idiots drama off screen is becoming as engrossing as the film’s on-screen performances with the issue of opening and closing credits hogging the limelight.


On Wednesday, writer Chetan Bhagat blogged claiming that 70% of the film had been inspired by his book Five Point Someone (FPS). He also complained the script was not shown to him before release and that he was hurt because the producers did not acknowledge his contribution to the film in the opening credits.


On Saturday, director Raju Hirani refuted all charges levelled by the writer. He showed documentary evidence of the contracts signed by him with the production house. He also showed a non-disclosure agreement signed by Bhagat and categorically denied the charge that he was not shown the final script of the film.


“Pre-release, the makers of the film made statements that it was only loosely inspired by the book. After release, those who have read the book and seen the movie find the film to be an adaptation of FPS,’’ Bhagat blogged.


He also stated that his family was upset after they didn’t spot his name in the opening credits of the film and also the story credit was not given to him. But Hirani clarified that the rights of the novel, with complete authority to alter the text to suit the screen, was purchased by them. He said the contract clearly stated that Bhagat’s name would be in the end-rolling credits and the agreement was signed in September 2005.


On Bhagat’s statement that most of the narrative of the film was copied from his text, Hirani said, “This is irrelevant because we hold the rights to the novel. Using the book as a take-off point, the writers brought about massive changes both on the macro and micro level of the story.’’


Asked about Bhagat not being shown the film before release, Hirani said Bhagat “said he would watch it at the premiere, which he did with his family”. But when told that ‘Bhagat-3 Idiots’ drama is also being looked at as a publicity stunt, Hirani said, “It would be below our dignity to do something like this.’’


Producer says sorry
Producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra apologised to the media for his rude behaviour. “I really think it was silly. I was provoked as you guys know but I should not have done that. It does not befit me. What I did was silly and am really sorry,’’ Chopra said on Saturday morning. TNN

Badly Burnt In Year Gone By, Industry Looks To Strong Content

Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; January 3, 2010)


Pursue excellence and success will pursue you,’’ was what Aamir Khan’s character philosophised in 3 Idiots. But when the lights dimmed and audiences sat down after the National Anthem, what greeted them on screens for most part of the year was average, even poor fare, making 2009 the annus horribilis of the first decade of the 21st century. More than 200 films, with Rs 1500 crore at stake, released last year but almost Rs 1000 crore sank in the sea of mediocrity without a bubble, the sharks-andsexy bikini Blue leading the pack.
Added to it was the multiplex strike which cost around Rs 350 crore, upset release dates forcing films to share Fridays and dent each others’ collections. A multiplex source said, “Cannibalisation caused by big films’ release dates clashing could have been avoided.’’


The year began with Chandni Chowk To China that lost 50% of its Rs 65-crore budget. And marketing blitzkreigs couldn’t save a Blue and Kambakkht Ishq and the audience clearly showed content was king with surprise hits like DevD, New York, WaKe Up Sid and Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani. DevD made Rs 6 crore, collected Rs 25 crore at the box office while its ancillary rights made another Rs 5 crore and there are still more satellite runs to be sold. Trade experts also put films like Love Aaj Kal, Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani, Wanted among the certified hits, followed by profitable films like Paa, All The Best, De Dana Dan and Raaz 2.


But Bollywood’s loss was Hollywood’s gain, with films like 2012 and Avatar (that collected a whopping Rs 50 crore so far) filling the void for good entertainment.


It was left to And Aamir Khan to play Santa Claus third year in a row, with 3 Idiots the biggest hit of the year. It grossed a phenomenal Rs 100 crore in India in the first four days, and Rs 175 crore worldwide till December 31, even denting into collections of Avatar. Trade analyst Amod Mehra said, “What Ghajini collected in a week, this film has done in three days.


Corporates didn’t really have a great year in 2009 and after the bloodbath in the first half of the year, most of them avoided buying films outright, with even 3 Idiots being released on commission.


Thus 2010 dawns to vastly altered realities — purse strings have tightened by cautious corporates; big banners are no guarantee for success and may dish out big turkeys instead; marketing and stars don’t sell, a good story does; and the days of astronomical fees are over.


“Audiences are very smart, the content ultimately will guide their choices and approval. Marketing and hype will only work if content supports that hype. We may not have a Blue this year but projects like Veer and Prince are costly and prima facie look difficult in terms of recoveries,’’ says a trade expert.


So when Akshay Kumar, blamed for soaring star prices, announced towards the end of 2009 that he would not charge any fee for Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khaan, it was a lifeline for the industry that had almost gone into the ICU.


Says Amod Mehra, “It is not that people did not come to watch Akshay Kumar films in 2009, it is just that the budgets of the films were so high and his remuneration was almost 40% of those budgets, so recoveries were not possible despite a good opening. But now that the actors are looking at sharing profit with the producer after the cost of the film has been recovered like in the case of Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots then it will be fair enough. Cutting down of star prices will definitely reduce the budget of films and they will become viable and that is definitely going to be the trend in 2010.”


The year thankfully doesnt have a Rs 100-crore Blue in its line-up. Last year most production houses scrapped films as star prices were not viable. In fact, it is learnt Saif Ali Khan is reworking the budget of his next film Agent Vinod starring Kareena and himself. In fact, 2010 is short on mega projects as budget constraints ensured very few got on the floors in 2009.


The first biggie of 2010 will be Veer,
followed by Rann, My Name is Khan, Action Replay, Kites and House Full in the first half of the year. The second half of the year would have Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzarish and Patiala House.


The action in 2010 seems definitely more in mid-size and multiplex projects that would have strong and clutterbreaking content. “There are a lot of films this year that may not topline the Khans or Hrithik Roshan but still have a decent line-up of names and would be thematically different. Tight budgets and good content seem to be the mantra in the decision making corridors of Bollywood. Each company is carefully evaluating its options and are not getting carried away,’’ says Priti Shahni of Indian Films. Corporates, for instance, have decided to take films only on commission, and not buy them outright.


Shahid Kapoor’s Chance Pe Dance, Striker starring Rang De Basanti’s Siddharth, Aamir Khan Productions’ Peepli Live, Vishal Bharadwaj’s Ishqiya would release in the first half of 2010.


Generation-next too would be making its presence felt with Ranbir Kapoor in Anjana Anjani and Rajneeti, Imran Khan in I Hate Love Stories, Sonam Kapoor in Ayesha, and Deepika Padukone in House Full.


As the record breaking run of 3 Idiots that has spilled over to 2010 has shown, great content along with great pre-release buzz make the perfect mix.


2010: Coming Soon
RAJNEETI (Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgn, Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor) BUDGET: 50 cr


DHOBI GHAT (Aamir Khan, Prateik Babbar) BUDGET: 15 cr


RAAVANA (Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) BUDGET: 50 cr


TEEN PATTI (Amitabh Bachchan, Sir Ben Kingsley) BUDGET: 35 cr


VEER (Salman Khan, Zarine Khan) BUDGET: 50 cr


RANN (Amitabh Bachchan) BUDGET: 25 cr


ISHQIYA (Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi) BUDGET: 20 cr


MY NAME IS KHAN (Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol) BUDGET: 50 cr


KITES (Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori) BUDGET: 50 cr


ACTION REPLAY (Akshay Kumar, Aishwarya Rai) | BUDGET: 35 cr


GUZAARISH (Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) BUDGET: 50 cr


ANJAANA ANJAANI (Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra) BUDGET: 40 cr


AGENT VINOD (Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor) BUDGET: 40 cr

Figures are an approximate estimation

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BHARATI DUBEY Times News Network (THE TIMES OF INDIA; January 2, 2010)

New Delhi: Three Idiots may be creating box-office history. But all’s certainly not well between Chetan Bhagat, the author of the book Five Point Someone from which the movie has been adapted, and its hero Aamir Khan, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra and director Rajkumar Hirani.
An ‘idiotic’ controversy has broken out over accusations of credit poaching. The film credits the story to Abhijat Joshi and Hirani. Bhagat’s name appears at the film’s end.
Bhagat is miffed that the film does not give him due credit, but Khan claims that Bhagat is trying to take away credit from Joshi, the film’s scriptwriter. Agencies have quoted the actor as saying that he has advised Chopra and Hirani to file a case against Bhagat as he has defamed them with “false’’ allegations.
Reacting to this, Bhagat told a news agency, “For the past two years, I have trusted Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Aamir blindly and this is what I get in return. Now I am being threatened with legal action, but I am ready for it.’’
Chopra too jumped into the fray on Friday. When the controversy was brought up by journalists at a press meet in Noida, he thundered, “Have you read the book? I have read the book, so shut up!’’ He also charged Bhagat with trying to gain publicity for his book.
But Bhagat was quick to retort that he didn’t need this kind of fame and he couldn’t help it if millions of people who had read his Five Point Someone had spotted the issue.
The row erupted on Thursday, when Bhagat blogged, “Pre-release, the makers made press statements like the movie is only ‘very loosely’, ‘2%-5% inspired by the book’. After the 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.’’

‘3 Idiots’ not an original story: Author Bhagat
New Delhi: Irked at the makers of ‘3 Idiots’ not giving him due credit, Chetan Bhagat, whose book Five Point Someone on which the film is based, has blogged, “The setting, characters, plotline, dramatic twists and turns, one-liners, theme, message—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 admitted to me that the film is 70% the book. Still, don’t take my word for it—go read the book, watch the film.’’
But Aamir Khan’s thoughts are different. At a press meet on Thursday, he said, “It is unfortunate that Chetan is behaving in this manner.’’ The actor said scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi and director Rajkumar Hirani had “abided by the contract’’ entered into with Bhagat and the author had been given due credit as per the contract. “For three years, Joshi has been working on the script. It is unfortunate that Chetan is trying to take away the credit from someone not as famous as he is,’’ Aamir said. He also mentioned how Bhagat had dropped in on the sets of ‘3 Idiots’ one day. “During the course of the conversation, I told him that I was still to read FPS and I intended doing it sometime soon. Chetan then told me that Abhijat’s script is different and I need not necessarily read the book,’’ he said. In his blog, Bhagat has also said that “crores was poured into publicity on shutting me out and cementing the fact that ‘3 Idiots’ is not based on FPS. Bhagat added, “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.” TNN
Ghaziabad theatre in dock for pirated DVDs
Reliance Big Pictures filed a police complaint against Galaxy Cinema suspecting it of helping in making pirated DVDs of the film 3 Idiots in Ghaziabad on Thursday. “The pirated DVDs of the film were available in the market from December 24 and it was from those prints that we got hold of the cap code marking which matched with this cinema hall. We then lodged an FIR against the hall,’’ Ghaziabad station road SHO Rashid Ali told TOI. It is learnt that the DVDs of the film were found in Delhi and UP which was tracked by Reliance. Kamal Gianchandani, COO (distribution) of Reliance Big Pictures, clarified, “The sleeves of the DVDs were available in the market but some of them did not have DVDs of the movie inside. Our enforcement team with the local authorities spoke to the local pirates and asked them not to sell the DVD for the first three weeks and also the MSOs asking them not to screen it for the first three weeks. Most of them honoured the commitment.’’ Nearly 2,000 DVDs were confiscated in raids conducted in Chandni Chowk, Delhi, and Sirsa in Haryana.

Karan Johar revealed to a screaming gaggle of Ranbir’s fans that the star is up for grabs

By TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; December 23, 2009)

Ranbir Kapoor

Karan Johar recently came together with Ranbir Kapoor to release the DVDs of Wake Up Sid.

Girls at the book store where the event took place went hoarse screaming, ‘Ranbir we love you’. Many wanted to know if Ranbir was single.

Even while the reticent star hesitated with a reply, the quick-witted film-maker said, “Yeah Ranbir is single and he is ready to mingle.”

What next? The girls went overboard; a couple of them almost fainting with excitement.

Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif, both, Ranbir’s beautiful co-stars should be worried with his huge female fan following.

MUMBAI MIRROR.com

Meena Iyer | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; December 9, 2009)

Mumbai: Bollywood satellite prices—the parallel revenue stream for film-makers—that slumped in October 2008, have started to soar.
Akshay Kumar’s Chandni Chowk to China was reportedly sold for Rs 5 crore. In the following 12 months, Bollywood was down in the dumps because satellite channels, crippled by the economic situation, virtually stopped buying the telecast rights of blockbusters. “Some of them syndicated content but, the satellite funds had dried up,’’ said trade consultant Amod Mehra.
However now, the revenue stream is witnessing a 360-degress turn as is evident from a report from the Bolywood’s inner circles that says the satellite rights of Paa and De Dana Dan have been sold for Rs 10 crore and Rs 12 cr. Mehra says, “The excitement created by Amitabh Bachchan’s Paa and Akshay Kumar’s De Dana Dan is palpable.’’
According to a source, the rates started improving with Boney Kapoor’s Eid release, Wanted; in fact, the market was never hotter than it was 14 months ago. Though Kapoor declined to reveal the amount, a source said Star TV had supposedly paid him Rs 13 crore for the satellite rights of the Salman-Khan starrer. Kapoor cautiously says, “Look, the market is on the rise. I have always had a good relationship with Star and I can tell you that Wanted has got a handsome price. But, I’m not at liberty to reveal the exact amount.’’ News has come in that a channel reportedly paid Rs 9 crore to premiere Diwali-release Blue six weeks after its theatre release.
Sources have also given rough estimates of how the Ranbir Kapoor-Katrina Kaif hit comedy Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani has allegedly fetched producer Ramesh Taurani Rs 12 crore; Ajay Devgan’s Diwali release, All the Best, was reportedly picked up for Rs 9 crore.

S Balakrishnan | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; December 8, 2009)

Mumbai: Film producer Ravi Kapoor has received a threat from gangster Ravi Pujari for ‘allegedly’ showing his wife in an objectionable manner in his forthcoming film.


Kapoor has produced a film—World Cupp 2011—which seeks to expose cricket matchfixing and the role of the underworld. One of the scenes shows Pujari’s wife consuming liquor and laying bets on a match. Kapoor said he received a call from the elusive Pujari who abused and threatened him. He wanted all references to his wife to be deleted from the movie, failing which he threatened to eliminate Kapoor.


“My maiden movie is based on real-life incidents and it is shocking that the underworld is now censoring Hindi movies,’’ Kapoor said on Monday. “Luckily, I recorded the telephone conversation so I have proof of the threat. I have complained to the crime branch,’’ he added. Pujari is based in an undisclosed foreign location from where he is conducting his operations, said sources. He was earlier with Chhota Rajan, but is on his own now. He has, in the past, targeted director Mahesh Bhatt and noted criminal lawyer Majid Memon.


The film uses the original names of gangsters like Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Rajan, Ravi Pujari, Chhota Shakeel et al. It also deals with Pujari’s attempt on the life of Bhatt.


“I will reveal the real reason for Ravi Pujari’s boys opening fire on Bhatt. I will also show why Chhota Rajan had attacked drug dealer Amjad Quereshi. I have openly taken the names of underworld figures who are implicated in match-fixing rackets because I want people to know the truth about cricket’’ Kapoor said. Kapoor said he has directed the film himself “as no other director was ready to take up this assignment.’’ He has also referred to big bookies like Shobhan Mehta, Laxmi Thane et al by their original names in the film, which is due for release on December 18.



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