Aashiqui 2 director Mohit Suri’s next film, based on author Chetan Bhagat’s best-selling novel Half Girlfriend, has triggered controversy in Bihar. And, if a scion of the erstwhile princely state of Dumraon in Bihar has his way, the film may never see the light of the day.
The film, also called Half Girlfriend, starring Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor, is scheduled to be shot around the world — Patna, Delhi, Rajasthan, Cape Town and New York. Realising he will be away from home for extended periods of time, the 35-year-old director got his daughter’s name inked on his right arm.
However, Chandra Vijay Singh of Dumaraon, who had slapped a Rs 1 crore defamation suit on author Chetan Bhagat, claiming men of the royal family were maliciously portrayed as alcoholics and gamblers in the latter’s novel, is trying his best to stall Suri’s tour. “We are also trying for a court order to get the shooting of the film stayed pending a verdict on our defamation suit,” said Gaurav Ghosh, whose law firm is representing the Dumaraon royals.
The suit was filed in the Delhi high court in early 2015 by Chandra Vijay Singh over “express and implied references” to his family in Bhagat’s novel that are “false and derogatory in nature”.
Chandra Vijay Singh is the eldest son of Maharaja Bahadur Kamal Singh, a two-term Lok Sabha MP and the last ruler of Dumraon before its accession to the Indian Union in 1952.
Apart from Bhagat, Rupa Publications, the publisher of the novel, has been named as a respondent in the defamation suit.
Chandra Vijay Singh has sought a permanent injunction restraining Bhagat, Rupa Publications and all others from further publication, sale and circulation of ‘Half Girlfriend’ in its present form “with immediate effect”.
The suit was filed within days of Bhagat changing the setting in the Hindi version of his book from Dumraon, which exists, to a fictional place called Simraon. But the Dumraon royals are firm they will not accept anything short of a full retraction of the original novel in English and an apology from Bhagat and the publishers.
Chandra Vijay Singh’s son, Shivang Vijay Singh, said Bhagat was given every chance to make amends and to repair the damage caused to his family’s reputation but the author did not take their concerns seriously. “I also understand that the word ‘Dumraon’ has been changed to ‘Sunraon’ or some such name in the Hindi translation of Half Girlfriend. This is a tacit admission and we were right all along,” Shivang told HT.
Watch the teaser of Half Girlfriend
The erstwhile princely state of Dumraon, located 100 km west of Patna, was founded by a branch of Ujjainia rulers and the reign of the first king, Raja Bhoj Singh, is traced back to 1018.
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