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01-02-2010, 06:30 PM #1
3 Idiots controversy deepens:Vidhu shouts at journo,apologises late
Amid the euphoria of it becoming the biggest Bollywood grosser in recent times, Raju Hirani's '3 Idiots' finds itself being deeply mired in a controversy over its similarity with Chetan Bhagat's bestseller 'Five Point Someone'.
In a latest incident in the NCR last night, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra shouted at a journalist when asked for his comment over Chetan Bhagat's statement that the film retained 70 per cent of contents of his book.
As soon as a reporter, at a press meet for the film at Big Cinemas in Noida where the producer was present along with stars of the film Aamir Khan, Madhavan and Sharman Joshi, director Rajkumar Hirani and writer Abhijat Joshi, asked Chopra if the film was similar to the book, the filmmaker lost his cool.
Rising in his seat, Chopra asked the journalist, ''Have you read the book?'' When the scribe replied in negative, the producer said, ''You have not read the book. You shut up.'' The outburst led to a furore among mediapersons who insisted that Chopra apologised to them. Though Aamir asked him to apologise, the producer refused.
On his part, director of the movie Raju Hirani tried to pacify the media by apologising to them.
Speaking to reporters, he said, ''I want you to recount each and every scene with me from the beginning till the climax and tell me where is it similar to the book (Five Point Someone). There are so many scenes which have nothing to do with it. I would be very honest that the film has only five per cent of the book and Chetan had read the script and approved of it.'' However, talking to reporters here this morning, Chopra apologised for his discourteous outburst.
''I say sorry to the media. What I did was silly, I was provoked,'' he said.
The producer said he felt really bad for director Rajkumar Hirani and film writer Abhijat Joshi, who had put a lot of hard work into the script, and the credit was being taken away by someone who was publicity hungry.
''I gave him (Chetan) the money even before the film released,'' Chopra said, alleging the whole row over the film credits was a publicity stunt.
The last few days have witnessed claims and counterclaims over the issue with author Chetan Bhagat insisting that the film was quite similar to his book and charging the filmmakers of cheating him while Aamir Khan has charged the former of being publicity hungry.
On his part, Chetan has alleged that the producers of the film have not given appropriate credit to him.
The highest selling Indian writer in English said the '3 Idiots' producers assured him the movie had an original script and was only two to five per cent based on Five Point Someone, the novel that catapulted him to fame.
However, when the film released, Chetan alleged that it borrowed heavily from the book.
Speaking at the press meet, Aamir accused the author of being hungry for publicity and trying to take away the credit from the film's scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi, who the star said was working on the script for three years.
He also said publicity-seeking people were trying to generate a controversy.
An angry Chopra at the press conference said, ''We have signed a very defined contract with Chetan stating his name would appear in the rolling credits of the film. We are going to upload the agreement on vidhuvinodchopra.com ( his website).'' ''Aamir had asked me to take the legal course before but now after all this furore I am really angry and I might take a legal action,'' he added.
When asked about the threat from the producers about filing a court case against him, Chetan said, ''What's with the court threat. I'd happily go to court. They'd lose so badly. Because there, truth talks, not stature.'' ''Imagine someone doing this to Harry Potter books abroad,'' he added.
However, Chetan, writing on his blog, said he felt hurt and cheated by the producers of the flick.
''I wanted to see the final script, it was never shown to me. I wanted to see the film before release, it was also not shown to me (even though trials had been done for people).
What's more, the makers had called me to their office and pressurised me several times to withdraw my 'Based on a novel by' credit, which was by contract.
They told me they'd replace it with something like 'initiated by,' a credit that doesn't exist anywhere in the world,'' the author said in his blog.
The controversy over the film comes even as it has turned out to be one of the biggest blockbusters in the history of Indian cinema, having earned a gross of over Rs 175 crore in the first week of its release worldwide.
In fact, '3 Idiots' is among the rare Bollywood films that has been hailed by critics as well as audiences.
The movie has been universally hailed by critics as among the best films to come out of Bollywood in recent times. The performances by Aamir, Madhavan, Sharman, Boman and Kareena have also come in for a lot of praise from cinegoers as well as critics, who have ranked '3 Idiots' as among the finest films of Aamir.
It is indeed a glorious end to the year for Bollywood which has witnessed a lean patch this year with a series of big budget and much hyped flicks meeting with lukewarm response.
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01-03-2010, 12:52 AM #2