With just a few days remaining for the release of the Akshay Kumar starrer Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, it’s needless to say that all the eyes are totally glued on to the film. The film, which happens to be a take on India’s Prime Minister’s dream project ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’, recently got itself embroiled in a copyright controversy.
Filmmaker Praveen Vyas, whose 2016 docu-feature Manini, besides winning everyone’s attention and applause, also won the third prize amongst the 4500 entries which were shortlisted at the last year’s International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa. After seeing the trailers of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Praveen Vyas was shell shocked as it resembled his Manini in many ways. That’s why; he sent a legal notice to ‘Viacom 18 Motion Pictures’ (who happen to be the film’s production and distribution company) and also a ‘cease and desist’ notice on the promotional campaign of the film.
As per a report, on his part, Praveen Vyas had allegedly stated that many scenes and dialogues from Toilet: Ek Prem Katha were a direct copy from his Manini. Praveen Vyas added that his film Manini followed the female protagonist and her protests for the lack of a toilet in her marital home on the first night of her marriage and the events which follow that. Praveen Vyas added that, even the scenes in Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’s trailer showed the similar kind of interaction between the characters. Praveen Vyas also added that no one could make any another cinematographic work or any other copied work without his written consent if their work directly resembled his work.
Even though Praveen Vyas had sent a legal notice of copyright infringement through his lawyers of the Delhi based ‘Litmus Legal’, the makers of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha responded to that notice through their legal team at ‘Naik Naik & Co.’, only on June 28. Praveen Vyas added that, since the makers of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha had denied all their allegations and have also refused to financially reimburse them; they will now be fighting the case in court.
Meanwhile, co-producer of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha Shital Bhatia along with Neeraj Pandey and Akshay Kumar has denied all of Praveen Vyas’ allegations. Shital clarified that their film’s script had been registered under their writers’ names, Siddharth and Garima, with the authorised industry association since the year 2013. He added that, they totally repudiate all the claims made by Praveen Vyas.
Watch this space for developments.