Freelance journalist and writer Sonal Mehta has taken Ram Gopal Varma and the producers of Rann to court for alleged breach of copyright. The director is unperturbed and in turn alleges that she is just trying to get publicity.
"I'm not the least bothered, because I know there's no truth to her claim. The writer of Rann is Rohit Banawliker. There can be a hundred takes on the media. I've made so many films on the underworld. Are they similar? Rann has nothing to do with this lady's idea," Varma said.
Mehta has filed a case in Bombay High Court claiming breach of confidential information and infringement of her copyright in the literary work, including screenplay and script.
"I first want to ask Sonal Mehta one thing: why has she waited till just a little more than one week before the release of Rann to make her claim? And secondly, has she seen even one frame of Rann to decide the screenplay is similar to her idea?"
Releasing January 29, the film has Amitabh Bachchan as a media mogul fighting for survival. It is expected to show how the media sometimes has no choice but to corrupt itself if it is to be a money-making enterprise. Varma doesn't deny getting a story idea from Mehta.
"She was a part of my production house, The Factory, four-five years ago when I was making 'James'. She came to me with an idea for a film on the media which I didn't like much. Still I said she should try to get a leading man to agree to do the film if she wanted to direct it. I didn't like the names she came up with. And there ended the project," he said. The director says Mehta's claims came as a complete surprise to him.
"But only to the extent that I had completely forgotten her existence. However making such claims in the court days before release has become fashionable. This is her way of getting publicity. And I'm most happy if I can be of help," he said.
Rann producers Madhu Mantena and Sheetal Talwar intend to challenge Mehta's claim in court.