Kollywood plagued by plagiarism

In just two weeks, Vijay-starrer Sarkar is all set to hit cinema halls in a big way. Though the movie grabbed headlines for its teaser and songs by A R Rahman, it also managed to be in the news for wrong reasons too.

Writer and assistant director Varun Rajendran has filed a complaint against director AR Murugadoss for plagiarism.

In the complaint filed with South Indian Film Writers Association, Varun had stated that the plot of Sarkar has been copied from his script Sengol, which was registered with the Writers’ Union in 2007.

In the complaint, Rajendran said that he had discussed the story with Vijay’s father and director SA Chandrasekar a few years back, who had reportedly ignored the writer at that time. Rajendran said that he will knock the doors of Madras High Court.

THOSE IN THE LIST

Complaints of plagiarism is not new feature in Tamil cinema. In the last few years, several filmmakers faced the heat as charges of plagiarism were levelled against them.

Pa Ranjith’s Madras that featured Karthi and Catherine Tresa in lead roles saw that the producer of a film called Karuppar Nagaram filing a case against the movie stating that it is a copy of their story.

Kamal Haasan starrer Papanasam saw an author accusing director Jeethu Joseph of making the movie from his novel Oru Mazhakalthu in Malayalam without his permission.

Remember an assistant director Gopi filed a case against Murugadoss alleging that Kaththi‘s plot was his idea. He even filed a case in City Civil Court. However Gopi shot to fame when he did Aramm starring Nayanthara.

Rajini starrer Lingaa faced controversy when an assistant director Ravi Rathnam claimed it as his story.

Producer Five Star Kathiresan, who had acquired the remake rights of Rajinikanth’s Moondru Mugam, has reportedly accused Atlee of stealing the story from this film and making Mersal.

LEGAL REMEDY

Speaking to News Today, an advocate, said, “The aggrieved party goes to court only as a way to put pressure on the other party into paying some sort of compensation. Rarely do cases reach the stage of judgements. These cases have to be resolved on a time-bound basis.”

A popular producer on condition of anonymity says, in most cases they conclude what the movie would be from teaser and first look. They also read what appears in newspapers. They resort to pressure tactics on us claiming that the story is theirs. In almost all cases, they were found making only accusations. If you could see, they target are big films to make some quick money.

However, differing from his view is an assistant director. He says, until a decade ago, many assistant directors’ stories were stolen and made as movies. Thankfully there is an awareness today as we register our ideas with Writers Union and Directors Association. When a big production house or a popular filmmaker lift our stories and make movies, it is difficult for ordinary people like us to fight them. Our dreams get shattered.

INSPIRATION OR COPYCATS?

‘There is lot of difference between inspiration and plagiarism. Many directors rob ideas from Western films and do movies here. And when you ask them, they would say it as inspiration’, claims Sriram, an industry tracker.

Sadly a filmmaker decides to don various hats here. He writes story, screenplay and dialogues too. In the past, there were dedicated team of writers. Studios like AVM and Gemini had a team of skilled writers who fed directors with stories on varied genres. There is an urgent need to have more writers in cinema today, he adds.

Trade bodies in cinema should sit and decide firm on registering stories under one umbrella organisation and speedy trial of plagiarism cases alone would end the menace, he winds up.

M BHARAT KUMAR