Co-producers, business partners and fast friends Akshay Kumar and Vipul Shah discovered to their horror that a new Bengali blockbuster Poran Jay Joliya Re (PJJR) has blatantly lifted the plot, scenes, even frames and costumes from Namastey London, without a by-your-leave from the producers.
Shah said: "I had no clue about this Bengali film until I read an interview with the film's producers blatantly admitting to the fact that there were similarities between their Bengali film and our Namastey London. I took into confidence a large number of friends and advisers in Kolkata who saw the film repeatedly and made a report on the similarities. The copied scenes ran into 5-6 pages in the report!"
Now Shah flies to Kolkata on Sunday to initiate legal action.
"Our legal advisers in Kolkata are confident that we've ample evidence of the Bengali film being copied from Namastey London. Even the Bengali hero (Dev) makes his entry wearing a kurta and kadha. You tell me why a film set in Bengal has its hero in a Punjabi get-up like Namastey London."
The film is strewn with what Shah sees as blatant examples of plagiarism, enough to initiate legal action against the Bengali producers Sri Venkatesh Films early this week.
Shah said: "We don't want monetary compensation. The Bengali film is a big blockbuster. It has made huge amounts of money. A compensation of 5-10 lakhs means nothing to them. Other filmmakers would be encouraged to plagriarise knowing all they've to do is shell out a small compensation. We want to make an example of this case, so that regional filmmakers would think twice before lifting Hindi films. The penalty should be severe."
Ironically Namastey London on release was said to be inspired by Manoj Kumar's Purab Aur Pachim.
"That was not correct. There were no similarities between the two films except for the fact that in both cases the innocent hero goes to England and confronts the cultural diaspora. Namastey London was inspired by a friend of Akshay's who underwent a similar experience."
More recently Vipul Shah's new under-production film Action Replay was said to be inspired by The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.
Shah said: "That was a very irresponsible piece of reporting. It prompted Warner Brothers to issue a statement. But the fact is Action Replay is about going back in time whereas Benjamin Button is about age reversal. Let them find one similarity between my film and Benjamin Button and we're ready to face the consequences."
"I disapprove of plagiarism in any form or language. And by taking on the people who've copied my Namastey London in Bengali I'm actually making sure none of us in Bollywood ever falls for the temptation of taking the easy way out to success by simply borrowing a successful film."