It slowly seems to have become a trend with writers waking up to claim their credit for a film’s story, weeks or barely days ahead of its release. Last week, writer and TV producer Yash Patnaik and writer Mushtaq Sheikh got into a row of sorts over RA.One’s story. Supposedly a case of copyright infringement, the matter hasn’t been sorted as yet. And now, there’s another story making rounds.
This time, the target is Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar that’s gearing up for an 11-11-11 release. Writer Muzzam Beg has accused the Jab We Met director that he has not only deprived him of a visibly prominent credit for the film’s original story but is also promoting the film as his own creation. “I had written Rockstar’s story out of my personal experiences. I narrated it to Imtiaz, when he was with Mukta Arts in 2005, shortly after his first directorial venture, Socha Na Tha released.
A year later, I heard he was turning my story into a film for UTV with John Abraham as the lead,” recalls Beg.
The film didn’t take off then for various reasons and the writer and director lost contact thereafter. Beg, a student from Jamia Milia Islamia, had intended to direct the film himself, since he has taken formal education in filmmaking. He started developing a fresh script when Imtiaz contacted him, and asked for the story. “At that point, I thought no one better than him to justify such a romantic script. I gave the story to him. I was called to sign a contract. And by then, the film was on floors,” rues Beg. “The contract read that the story’s credit would be shared by Imtiaz and me. When I questioned that, he ignored my queries. After a while I gave up.”
Beg rejoiced when he saw the first promo of Rockstar, that toplines Ranbir Kapoor and newbie Nargis Fakhri. But he was shocked to discover that there was no mention of his name anywhere in the credits. “It’s absent from the promotional material, the official website and even sites like IMDB. My name’s not been mentioned anywhere,” he points out. “I have been completely wiped out and denied credit where I deserved it.”
Imtiaz quells the issue, saying, “Beg likes publicity. I knew he would do this. No point talking about it now. The film’s story has little to do with his story. Saying anything beyond this is pointless.” Beg has opted to be quiet for a while now. But cautions, “If they don’t give me credit, I’ll have to take the legal route.”