’96’ movie director denies plagiarism charges

Chennai: The past few weeks saw Tamil cinema plagued by lots of controversies. First it was the #Metoo and now it is plagiarism allegations that has hit Kollywood.

Recently, ‘Sarkar‘ starring Vijay got drowned in a plagiarism controversy when writer and assistant director Varun Rajendran alleged that the director of ‘Sarkar,’ AR Murugadoss had lifted his story ‘Sengol.’

Similarly, Prem Kumar, who directed the critically-acclaimed ‘96‘ was accused by Suresh, an assistant director.
Suresh in an interview claimed that he had written a script titled ‘92‘ which was based on his own recollections of school life. He then narrated it to his mentor, Bharathiraja.

Filmmaker Prem Kumar addressing mediapersons in Chennai today.

Prem Kumar addressed the media here today. He said, “I want to set things clear. When the movie ‘96‘ first got released, a man tweeted claiming that it was his story. He asked how a cameraman can write and direct a film. These men have started accusing once the film got successful.”

He added, “My question to them is why don’t these men talk about the story of the film? Though the movie is a hit, I am not able to enjoy the success after these men blamed me,” said Prem.

He also showed hand written note books in which he first started penning down the screenplay of ‘96.’ “You can come and check it yourself. I have also shared the photograph of my script’s certification,” said Prem.

“These men have pushed me to a stage where it’s like a father has to claim the parentage of his child. They claim that I can’t write but here’s my proof that I have written so many drafts and even short stories based on ‘96.'”

“I wrote my screenplay during the 2015 floods and you know that I have mentioned about this in interviews many a times,” said Prem.

“After Vijay Sethupathi agreed to act in the movie and the film was ready for production, I had registered my script in April 2016.”

Prem then started questioning the accusations made by the men. “When you accuse someone, there should be some truth in it but the evidence these men showed is not satisfying,” he said.

“They have shared on media, the photos of some locations and claim that idea of ‘96‘ film was stolen,” he added
Prem was joined by directors Maruthu Pandian, Balaji Dharani Dharan and Thiyagaraja Kumararaja.

NT Bureau