Is director Satish Kaushik's Teree Sang a copy of Hollywood film Juno? It may seem so going by the subject, but the filmmaker and his lead actors insist the film is an absolute original piece of work.
"I don't even think this really requires any justification," Kaushik told IANS.
"That's because while Juno had released in December 2007, we had already wrapped up a major schedule for Teree Sang by then. How can we be accused of copying a film that wasn't even heard about much till then, let alone being released?" he added.
But Kaushik doesn't deny that he was indeed inspired by a Telugu film that was released a few years ago.
"I had seen this fabulous Telugu movie which again dealt with teenage pregnancy. I wanted the film's rights but couldn't get them. However, the idea stuck with me and I eventually decided to come up with an entirely different tale, though with the germ of teenage pregnancy. In the way it has eventually shaped up, Teree Sang has nothing to do with that Telugu film though," he said.
A film directed by Jason Reitman, Juno is about a 16-year-old high school girl Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) who discovers she is pregnant with a child fathered by her friend and long-time admirer Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). While at first she intends to have an abortion, she changes her mind and plans for the child's adoption.
"That's the very basic point in the plot where our film differs," said Sheena Shahabadi, the debutante leading lady of the film. "In Juno, the girl was looking for someone to adopt her unborn baby while in Teree Sang, the characters played by Ruslaan (Mumtaz) and me decide to live together and raise the child."
Explaining the film's plot, Sheena said: "The only similarity between Teree Sang and Juno is teenage pregnancy. In one of their outdoor rendezvous with a bunch of friends, schoolmates Maahi (Sheena) and Kukko (Ruslaan) decide to 'experiment' and end up making love to each other. When Maahi gets pregnant, she decides to give birth to the child. In this journey of hers, she gets complete support from Kukko.
Ruslaan added: "Well, let aside Juno, some idle minds are also comparing Teree Sang with Kya Kehna. Can you beat that? Story about any and every unwed mother can't be Kya Kehna, right?
"Come on, that movie was a love triangle between Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan and Chandrachur Singh while Teree Sang is a sweet and simple tale about young parents who decide to be with each other in their tough times. Hence the title Teree Sang," Ruslaan said.
Also starring Sushmita Mukherjee, Rajat Kapoor, Neena Gupta and Satish Kaushik and Anupam Kher in a special appearance, the film has music by Sachin and Jigar with guest compositions by Anu Malek and Bappi Lahiri.
Produced by Bharat Shah, "Teree Sang" has been acquired by Sony Pictures and will hit theatres Aug 7.