Earlier this month, film-maker Shirish Kunder (below) released his short film, Kriti, online. Soon, a Nepali film-maker, Aneel Neupane, claimed that the story of Shirish’s film was lifted from his short film, BOB. Now, as Shirish sends a legal notice to Aneel, he talks to us about the entire episode.
Are you frustrated or annoyed with the plagiarism controversy?
It takes the fun out of everything. There were great reviews and lots of appreciation, and suddenly, there is this irritation. I would like to clarify a few facts. We released the film in June, but we shot it in February. For almost six months before that, the project was being put together. Then, we decided on the release date and chief guest [for the film’s launch]. When you make a movie professionally, it is a long process. When you devote all your time to a film, and someone shoots something on a handicam and puts it out there, it’s frustrating.
You have taken the legal route now…
Earlier, I thought it’s a coincidence, so let it be. My script was out there with the actors and team members for a long time. But when I read an interview of him (Aneel) saying that he often comes to Mumbai, I got suspicious. Also, I have never visited Nepal. I don’t know anyone there. But this person keeps coming here, so there is definitely something fishy. I have sent him a legal notice. I want the matter to be investigated. I will take it to the end. Also, my film released in June and their film was available before that, but only for private viewing. After my movie released, it could be accessed.
Do you think this episode has damaged your reputation?
What is more important to us than our reputation? If anyone can shout and get their two minutes of fame and disappear, at the cost of our name, it’s not fair. Also, it’s understandable if someone takes away an idea from some famous guy, but is it possible that a professional like me sitting in Mumbai will look for random people in Nepal or Myanmar or Bangladesh to take something from?
You didn’t work on any film after Joker (2012)…
Before Joker, I didn’t do anything for six years. When your film is a hit, your next movie comes quickly because everyone wants to work with you. But when it doesn’t do well, it takes a lot of time to convince people to do your film. My script is ready. Making a film is not as difficult as putting it together.
As a feature film-maker, is it challenging to crunch your ideas for a short film?
It is not difficult. The grammar of a feature film and a short film and a web series and a TV series is different. While a movie follows a story with a closed ending, a short film is more open-ended. It also has many possibilities.