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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 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

By Devansh Patel, December 10, 2009 – 08:21 IST

Abhishek Bachchan Indian cinema’s finest premiere comes to an end. People all over the world are doing the monkey dance. Such is the hysteria. Facebook status of various friends read that all those who’ve watched Paa proclaim it to be one of the biggest hits of it’s time. It’s strange, but it’s true, a newly wed couple decided to watch Paa and postponed their honeymoon for a day. Is Paa becoming a revolution in itself? UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama’s London correspondent Devansh Patel asked a few rapid fires to the Paa himself, Abhishek Bachchan, on the feedback he’s been receiving or has received so far. “The kind of reactions that I have been getting be it on facebook or twitter or via SMS or via email has been overwhelming. Overwhelming because I still haven’t managed to answer all of them, there have been so many of them! And without trying to sound very pompous I think 99% of it is all very very positive. The response has been fantastic, I don’t think I have ever received response to any of my films like the way we have received for Paa“, answers Bachchan junior. We recall the day when Big B was all tears after watching Abhishek perform in Guru and so we asked the multi-talented Abhishek, “Did that happen to you while you were watching Amitabh Bachchan as Auro?” Surprisingly, he replied, “Yes”, and after a long pause, said, “No too, because every time I got sucked into the film and tried to react to it emotionally, the producer in me would wake up and try and find ways that I could have done certain things better. So for me, it was like balancing – being an actor and a producer, and a lot of times the producer in me would not allow me to be the actor whole heartedly. So although I do think its Pa’s best performance till date, I still feel that as a producer I could have performed a lot better.”

For the two days after the film was released, all the social networking sites were flooded with comments, suggestions and some interesting and thought provoking reasons to go and watch Paa. One such interesting suggestion read – Don’t you feel that a film like Paa should be doing the rounds of the international film festivals and should be screened especially for the BAFTA members? To which Abhishek comments, “I think that’s being a bit presumptuous, I am more than happy that our Indian audience and the Indian diaspora is watching the film – I think film festivals and BAFTA and all are although very prestigious, are things that the international jury will decide. If that is the fate of the film, I am happy. What I am most excited about is that our audience is currently enjoying the film.” Getting Abhishek Bachchan over the phone these days is like making a call to the White House. AB is a busy man and an even busier producer. All the running around has boiled down to many one liners – Paa is a hit! Paa is a super success and Paa is inspirational. One last question to the busy man, “How content is the producer today?” we ask. The answer was filled with content. Abhishek replies, “I am very content, it’s been just a few days since the release and my film is already in overflow which means it has covered its costs, I am in profits. So as a producer, economically speaking, I am very happy!”

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

 

CLEANING UP THE MESS: Karan Nevatia and his friends scrape off the film posters that have been plastered on their murals along Senapati Bapat Marg in Lower Parel

 

Mahafreed Irani | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; October 28, 2009)

 

 

Mumbai: On Tuesday evening, Karan Nevatia and his friends travelled to Lower Parel equipped with dishwashing liquid, knives and water. At 8 pm, the group started scraping off film posters that had been plastered on their murals along Senapati Bapat Marg.
Nevatia and a group of over hundred other citizens had participated in a wall painting event on Sunday, organised by the BMC and the Wall Project, a community of graffiti artists. But within 24 hours after the walls got a facelift, news of several paintings being vandalised broke on the Internet. Paintings of yellow giraffes and white Zoozoos were buried behind gawdy Bollywood kitsch.
Utsavi Jhaveri (19), a media student, was angry when she read about it. Jhaveri, along with her friend Sahil Mehta, went to the wall to tear off the posters. “We had to look for air bubbles between the posters and the wall. The glue made it difficult,’’ said the Lala Lajpatrai College student. “This was one time the BMC had come forward to do something positive with the participation of citizens. Sadly, it was destroyed within a few hours.’’
Calling it blasphemy, angry artists and Mumbaikars protested online against the producers of films Aladin, London Dreams, Gair and Canvas, whose posters had defaced the wall project. An online petition, titled ‘reclaim my wall’, and a movement to tear the remaining posters has been scheduled for Saturday.
On microblogging site Twitter, members tweeted at Aladin’s director Sujoy Ghosh and actor Riteish Deshmukh, after which they immediately apologised. Deshmukh tweeted, “Sincere apologies for the Aladin poster that been put on the wall. Insensitive n incorrect. Will look into it asap. Sorry guys.’’ Ghosh wrote, “Wall posters should be banned or be allowed only at authorised spots. Never again a wall poster. Promise.’’ The producers made sure the films’ posters were removed, following which music director Vishal Dadlani committed to help repaint the walls. Even Amitabh Bachchan’s blog wasn’t spared. A commentator wrote, “Many people are boycotting the film until the damage has been acknowledged and fixed. Hard to support the hard work of filmmakers when the hard work of the artists/painters has been completely disrespected in order to promote the film.’’

By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 14, 2009)

Emraan Hashmi is so eager about his forthcoming film Tum Mile that he ended up messing up all the hard work done by the film’s marketing team. The filmmakers were supposed to unveil the first look of the film along with the music release at a grand event on September 16 but Emraan has already unveiled the first look on Twitter.

An upset Kunal Deshmukh said, “An actor has to be responsible about what he is doing. What Emraan did for his personal publicity or for his fans was just not needed.”

Commenting on the exclusivity of the forthcoming event, Kunal added, “We had an entire marketing plan to release these unique visuals on the September 16 so that it grabs media attention. Otherwise it would be just another music release party where media persons watch songs, meet people, party and leave. We didn’t allow anyone to come on the sets throughout the making of the film. We only released Emraan and Soha’s look in the film and not of the 26/7 floods, which the film is based on. I will speak to the Bhatts (producers) and the music company will speak to Emraan.”

Emraan Hashmi confirmed the news but seemed clueless about the exclusivity of the visuals. “I didn’t know that these pictures were part of the promotional activities when I put them up on Twitter. Kunal sounded quite upset about it. I am not aware if they have cancelled the event. I will meet KD and solve the issue today. Making such a fuss is unnecessary,” said Emraan.

A humiliated Raju Shrivastav challenges Vishal Dadlani, who has called him ‘some donkey’, to prove who is more popular
By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 30, 2009)
The jugalbandi has begun and needless to say, is not melodious to the ear. The war of words between comedian Raju Shrivastav and singer-musician Vishal Dadlani has taken a turn for the worst. Vishal has made a nasty comment about Raju on the social networking website Twitter and Raju is not taking kindly to this.

Raju  Shrivastav

Vishal Dadlani

Rewind to a recent award function where Vishal was performing on stage. And excited Raju, egged on by others, went up to the stage to do an impromptu jig to the song. Annoyed, Vishal ordered Raju off the stage and an embarrassed Raju retired to his seat, putting the incident behind him. But now, Vishal has mentioned on a website that ‘some donkey tried to interrupt his performance’ and that he had asked him to leave the stage immediately. He claims he does not know Raju and this has upset Raju.

An agitated Raju said, “I find this extremely shocking and humiliating. My daughter happened to read somewhere that Vishal has referred to me as a donkey. I want to say that even I don’t know who Vishal is. He was singing ‘Bachna ae haseeno’, which is an RD Burman number and I worship RD. It was the love for the song that made me go up on stage to dance. I didn’t know anyone up on the stage. I assumed them to be an orchestra group playing RD’s songs. I had even forgotten about the incident when my daughter told me what Vishal has posted on a website. If he claims that he does not know me, then I challenge him to meet me on a public platform like Lalbaugcha Raja and find out who is more popular. I am a simple man from the industry and such name-calling by colleagues is unjust.”

Vishal was unavailable for comment.

By Subhash K. Jha, August 11, 2009 – 13:58 IST

Asin
A  S  I  N

“Hey there… Asin is using Twitter,” declares the latest social networking website, and then goes on to give us gems like “I want to act in a Tamil movie” from the actress.

There’s just one problem. Asin is not on Twitter… or any of the social networking websites. And she can’t laugh off the impersonations any longer.

Asin has a very serious problem. She has impersonators on all the major social-networking sites. “I was ready to overlook these fake IDs using my name as long as they weren’t harmful. But now the problem is getting out of hand.”

The other night a colleague had a whole long conversation with ‘Asin’ and called up the next day to share her excitement about what an intimate conversation they had.

“I nearly fell off my chair. I won’t name this actress. But she said we shared our most intimate secrets on Facebook. I nearly fell off my chair and asked her whom did she share her secrets with because it was most certainly not me. Two days ago, a journalist came to interview me and said she got all the information on me from what I had written on Twitter. For the record, I’m not on any of the social-networking websites. Apart from my own website, I am not on the internet for any other purpose. I started blogging even before Aamir did in August 2005,”Asin declares proudly.

Asin is aghast. “I was clubbed with Chetan Bhagat and Shashi Tharoor and put on a social networking website. But I’m not on Orkut, Facebook or Twitter. Apparently, there are lots of fake profiles.”

The lies about Asin don’t end at virtual reality. “It’s been ages since I have had non-vegetarian food. For all practical purposes I’m a vegetarian. But I read this horrible report about how I love all kinds of exotic meats. I haven’t been approached by PETA. But that doesn’t mean I’ve to go the other way.”

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM


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