A day after the Mumbai High Court dismissed a copyright infringement case against Mohenjo Daro director Ashutosh Gowariker, actor Hrithik Roshan and production houses UTV Motion Pictures and Disney India, the complainant, filmmaker-writer Akashatiya Lama, has said he will take the matter to the Supreme Court and seek financial help from the public. Lama was also slapped with a fine of Rs 1.5 lakh for “harassing and blackmailing” the defendants.
Lama had claimed that Mohenjo Daro, which releases on Friday and also stars Pooja Hegde, is his story. “I brought this matter up with Mr. Ashutosh on 12th August 2010 for the first time. Since then, I have been fighting this battle. I wrote the script for Mohenjodaro when I was 18 years old, and have since spearheaded the Mohenjodaro play across the India for private and government organisations. I conceived the idea of Mohenjodaro in 1995, while studying in Gwalior. In 2003, I shared the script with film editor, Ballu Saluja, one of Gowariker’s associates. I sent him (Gowariker) a handwritten script through Saluja, which he returned after four days saying that he had just directed a period movie (Lagaan) and didn’t wish to make another one immediately. Over a period of time I made some changes in the script and registered it in 2007 under the title, Saamrajya, with copyright office Delhi. I was afraid that the title and the script could be stolen as period dramas became a vogue since Lagaan,” Lama said.
“I re -registered the same script once again under the title Mohenjodaro with the Ministry of Human Resources Development and the Department of Higher Education, Government of India, under the Copyright Act, this time online, in February 2010. Two days later, I registered the same script for the third time with the Film Writers Association, Mumbai,” he added.
Lama asserted his intention was not to malign Gowariker, but seek recognition for his own work. “I am going to challenge this judgment in the Supreme Court very soon. My intention is not to harm the film and neither am I after cheap publicity. I even conveyed this to Gowariker in 2010. I understand that making a film is not a single person’s hard work; many people struggle day and night to make it happen. And so, I am not here with the intention to malign anyone. But, I am fighting for justice and for my rights. All I want is to prove that I am not wrong, and that Mohenjodaro is my concept and my script,” he added.
“Even as my play - Mohenjodaro - was being staged across the country, Ashutosh Gowarikar refused to respond to my constant emails reminding him about the script I had sent to him in 2002-2003. His silence forced me to seek justice through our system. I sent him a legal notice on March 2015, after which I filed a case against him in November 2015.”
Elaborating on the financial demands, Lama said, “I sold my property on 27 June, a day before filing this case in the high court. It is not the fight of every common man who go to higher authorities for justice and in return they are penalised. I appeal to every person to support me if you feel I am right. Tell others what happened to us and make them aware of the situation. And ask them to donate us online or in person. Even your one rupees can make the change and it will shatter the confidence of real culprits.”
Repeated attempts to reach filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker went unanswered.
Follow @htshowbiz for more